Sometimes I think my kids might be smarter than me. The one time of day that I always seem to think this is bedtime. We go through good times and bad at getting the kids to sleep. But most of the time it is painfully bad. Getting the kids in p.j's and reading stories is fairly simple, assuming they have clean p.j's and we can all agree to the number of books to read. Once the books are read, and the lights go out, it is a cry fest. Monsters, thirst, needing the potty, tummy aches, hunger and the list goes on, plague our evenings. I've tried altering the hour that we put them to bed, thinking maybe they aren't tired yet, or they are too tired, but still the drama continues night after night. I'm at wits end. I feel like screaming my head off since I just don't know what to do to get them to bed. To make matters worse, my husband has been working many nights during the week, so often I'm the sole bedtime sergeant.
Things I've tried:
"Go to bed without giving me the business, and we'll walk into town for donuts for breakfast in the morning"
Giving the girls a long bath before stories to ensure they are relaxed and in the mood for bed
"You can each pick out 4 stories tonight if you go straight to bed without crying and fussing"
"Mommy is so tired tonight, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE go straight to bed"
"I will spank you both" (I know, it is child abuse to spank, so the threat is just as bad, right?)
I just don't know what to do.
I find planning ahead for anticipated "disasters" helps. It sounds like you know most of the issues that the kids are likely to throw at you, so you could start talking about some of those issues much earlier in the day. If monsters are an issue, then you could talk about what would make them feel safe from monsters (and I tend to underscore that monsters are pretend all the while I am playing this game). You could make an event out of setting flashlights in place or making jars of "monster spray." To handle the thirst issue, our kids have a sippy cup of water at bedside every night. If it's a tummy ache, I say that sleep is the best cure. And if they're hungry, I might remind them that the sooner they fall asleep, the sooner it will be breakfast time. The need to go potty is the one I always do respond to, though we make a point of having the potty the last stop before the lights are out. If all their needs are met and they're still going to cry, I let them cry. Hope that helps...
Thanks for the suggestions. I didn't fall for the crying for Mommy, as I usually do. We let them cry last night, and they went to sleep in a matter of minutes. I guess I always feel like a bad Mom when I leave them to cry, but really I'm being a bad Mom by not standing up to them. Thanks Karen.
With regards to the monsters comment, my husband came up with a resonable response. He tells Jimmy that the room looks exactly the same at night as it does in the daylight.
Bedtime has become a smoother time these days, once I stopped snuggling everyone to sleep, and started letting them do it on their own. Tears were (and still are, from time to time) shed, but they do go to sleep pretty quickly.
As to the hungry tummy, during storytime, I let the kids munch on a banana, if I know they haven't eaten a decent supper. I don't have the heart to send them to bed with a grumbling tummy.
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