Charm is deceptive and beauty disappears, but a woman who honors the Lord should be praised. Proverbs 31:30

Friday, December 16, 2011

Bedtime...is it a horrible time for you?

I used to watch Super Nanny on ABC, before I had kids. I think it's still on...not sure. I don't feel I need to watch Super Nanny anymore because I feel that I have a good foundation for parenting on what I've learned from my own parents, advice from others, and constant reading on articles of children and education. However, bedtime is something that's a challenge for a lot of people, us, sometimes but not usually.

Last Winter, we hosted a sermon based small group at our house on Monday evenings, right during bedtime routine. Now Pastor led the bible study, so I participated as much as I could with #1 being almost 2, and #2 being about 6 months old. I then got the privilege of putting #1 & #2 to bed, by myself (which happens a lot being a Pastor's Wife), but with others in the house, watching me (well not really "watching" but here at least). Many of the nights the people in the small group would comment, wow your kids go to bed so easy, not even a cry out of them. That's right, both #1 & #2 typically go to bed no crying, no questions asked. Why is that you ask? Let me tell you our little secret...which I do have to say Pastor was very much more "strict" about this than I was at the beginning.

We've "sleep trained" our children. Basically from one month old. It's not for everyone, and let me tell you it took a lot of will power on my, the mom's parent, to accomplish, but now, 2 in a half years into it, I'm so thankful we did it!

Sleep training is the process of helping a baby learn to get to sleep and stay asleep through the night. At about the same time every night, for instance, we gave #1 a warm bath, read him a book, and then feed him before putting him to bed. It worked wonders for him. Well #2 wasn't liking this whole "routine" as much. We ended up using Dr. Richard Ferber's method for getting a child to sleep. We let #2 Cry it out, meaning every 5 minutes we'd go in her room, pat her back and then go out (never picking her up). We'd continue this routine until she fell asleep. It took about 5 nights of this, and boom, she was down without a peep. She even goes down for naps (when she's actually tired) with not a sound. It's amazing!

Now #2 is in his own twin bed, so he can get out and open the door (#1 and #2 do not share rooms). He's also potty trained, and almost all night trained. So, this leads us to "mommy I have to go potty" "I need a drink" "I need a tissue". Basically he has 1 minute to go potty, we don't give him anything to drink and we give him a tissue. Sometimes it takes 5 times to put him back into bed, but the trick is, we don't carry a conversation with him, we simply go in his room, put him in bed, and start his CD player and close the door. Same routine, never changes and after 5 times (or less even) he's down. 

Here are things that helps us! Found from Just Mommies.com

Consistency is the key!  Set a time for bed and stick with it, even on the weekends. Try and pick a reasonable time to get up in the morning as well.
     
Bedtime routine - Establish a bedtime routine. Children are less resistant to going to bed when they are prepared for it. For example, every night have them take a bath and brush their teeth. Have them get in their pajamas and read a bedtime story. With an established routine, they will know it is bedtime once story time is over.

Shorten Naps- Take a look at nap time. How long are they sleeping? What time are they getting up in the morning? Have you set a reasonable bedtime? 

No more drinks - One of children's favorite excuses to get out of bed is saying "I'm thirsty" or "I have to go to the bathroom". Include a trip to the bathroom and a small glass of water in your bedtime routine. 

Noise - Is the TV set blaring when your children go to bed? Now is the time to dim all the lights and turn the TV way down or off. Kids, like adults, have difficulty sleeping with noise in the background. 

Put them back in bed -  If your children insist on getting out of bed, return them right back to bed. If you allow them to get up, even for a few minutes, it reinforces this behavior. If they see they can get out of bed they will continue with the stall tactics. Putting them back in bed promptly will help eliminate this behavior.

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