As a grandmother, I’ve learned a few tricks for putting kids to bed. I would like to impart some of my knowledge, so that my mistakes can help others who are just starting out.

Here are a few methods that are, well, perhaps not so helpful.

1. The Drive-Around-in-the-Car-Until-They-Fall-Asleep Method

This method has a number of advantages. They all go to sleep at the same time. No time-consuming stories before bedtime. No hundreds of requests for drinks of water.

The disadvantages, however, include excess use of gas, the older children will begin to think it’s a family excursion and may wake up or never fall asleep. At age 16 or so, they may even request the keys, and then you will fall asleep as they drive around (maybe that’s an advantage).

2. The Ignore Method

You did your duty. You fed them, bathed them, read them a story, read them a story twice, read them a story again and gave them 100 drinks of water. It’s just not your problem now. Ignore them! You can now rest (try), read (ditto) or clean up after them.

An obvious disadvantage: You might go crazy.

3. Threaten

4. Bribe

5. Beg

The disadvantages of the above three are obvious ...

The Torah commands us to venishmartem meod lanafshotechem—“to take great care with our health.”1 A large part of children’s health has to do with them getting enough sleep. When none of the above methods work, you may want to try different tricks, especially when there are a few children of different ages.

Here are my tried-and-true tips for “Putting Kids to Bed and Keeping Them There” (seriously).

1. Create a routine.

Kids feel secure when they see the same thing every day: bath, story, drink of water. Repeat every day.

In Judaism, the importance of routine cannot be overstated. We pray three times a day. We say blessings before and after eating food. It is customary to have a set place to pray every day to help us concentrate better. Shabbat looks pretty much the same every week: three meals; we make kiddush at the first two meals; prayers in the synagogue. We do all of these over and over until it becomes part of us—and then we do it some more. Routine is very important in a Jew’s life.

2. Divide and conquer.

Deal with one age-group at a time. Start with the first- and second-graders. They really need at least nine hours of sleep. If you have a few children similar ages, try to give baths together until they are too old for that. Then story time together. However, you may want to separate them if they don't fall asleep easily. They might keep each other awake. You can move one of them back to their bedroom as soon as they fall asleep.

(Again, getting enough sleep is a mitzvah—for the parent as well!)

3. Try to get some help or plan ahead.

If you have a baby or toddler, see if you can hire a mother’s helper to help you with the baby while you are putting the older ones to sleep. Plan ahead and feed the baby before the bedtime routine starts. The baby doesn’t need your attention at those crucial moments. You’ll attend to his or her needs afterwards, as long as he or she has eaten. If necessary, have the helper feed/change/play with the baby while you’re with the others.

4. Be consistent.

If a child comes out of bed, insist that the child go back to bed. You may need to physically pick them up and put them back in bed. After you have done this for three or four nights, the child will learn that you mean business. Reward them with a prize for staying in bed when they eventually stay without coming out. (I don’t mean to buy them a bicycle, but maybe something small from the dollar store.)

The key is to be consistent. Don’t give up in the middle! If you let them come out to play, you will teach them that you’re not serious about bedtime.

Consistency in parenting is very important. When a child clearly understands where the boundaries are, he can grow into a more disciplined person.

5. Be kind, but determined.

We all want our children to have fond memories of bedtime, so you want to talk to them in a kind, soft-spoken manner. When a parent puts their children to bed, they should be mindful that these are the last words a child hears before going to sleep. Those words stick.

Make sure you aren’t overwrought so that your mood isn’t negatively affected. Have a snack or eat dinner before you begin the evening routine. Take a short nap, if possible, during the day. But at the same time, you can be strict in the sense of determined and unwavering.

Our sages tell us, “The right hand brings close, while the left pushes away.”2 In other words, we should be loving (the right hand), but at times we need to seemingly “push” the child away. We don't really push him away, but at the moment, it may feel that way to the child. That’s called discipline. So, be pleasant but resolute.

I have observed a lot of successful household bedtimes since my children were young. The key seems to be practice. A successful bedtime should be a bonding time for children and parents. It needs to be early enough that the children are rested the next day and so that the parents have at least part of the evening to themselves after dedicating their day to their children.

In the Shema prayer—a fundamental prayer that we say every day—we are commanded to teach our children, “When you sit in your house and when you walk on the road, when you lie down to sleep and when you rise up.” Bedtime is a teaching moment—a time to model what a calm, kind but resolute person looks like.

Believe me, I know that it’s not easy sometimes, but the end goal is that our children have memories of a calm, warm, household … where rest is regular and valued.