My boys are great sleepers. Of course they are, it’s what I do for a living! I love sleep and find that I really need a full night’s sleep to be productive, so I’ve always been really consistent with their sleep.
Ok…that’s not completely true. Like everyone, there are times where I can get a little loose on sticking with my bedtime schedule. Like everyone else, this ALWAYS backfires on me. During the Holiday Season, I got a good taste of what happens when I don’t follow my own rules so I thought I would share my little disaster with you.
Leading up to Christmas, I was really consistent in making sure my boys were in bed at the right time and getting a good night’s sleep because the excitement of Christmas can lead to meltdowns in overtired children. They both did so well and had a great Christmas. A few days later, our family went away for 5 days to celebrate New Year’s. We were with some friends and their children and all the kids were having such a great time playing and enjoyed getting to stay up late. My oldest son slept late every morning, so he wasn’t short on sleep at all. However, my youngest one continued to wake at his usual morning time so he was losing sleep every night.
When we returned home I knew that I really had to get him back on track. I had hoped he would bounce back easily, but I was also pretty sure that was wishful thinking. Here’s a little recap of what happened when I tried to get him to bed at a reasonable time with his regular routine.
First, he came out of his room a few times with various excuses (eg. his leg was itchy, he was wearing the wrong pyjama top etc. Important things!). After the third or fourth time, I reminded him of our nighttime rules, which are if he wants to sleep with his kitty cat lovey, he must stay in his bed quietly. He came out again, so I removed his kitty cat from his room. This would be enough to get my older son right back into bed, but my younger one is pretty stubborn. I closed the door and waited for a response. Nothing happened. No crying, no coming out of the room, no calling to me. I was wondering what he was doing, but decided to wait and see if he was settling himself. Then I heard the door opened and he came out with a laundry basket on his head dancing. If I wasn’t so mad, it would have been funny.
I quietly took the laundry basket off his head and put all the toys in his room in it and left and closed the door. Same thing. No response. I couldn’t figure out what he was doing in there. He then came out with a soaking wet head! He turned off his humidifier and dunked his head in it.
I won’t make that mistake again. I changed him and put him back in his bed and told him that I would bring his kitty cat back when he laid quietly in bed for 5 minutes. This time he actually did it (thankfully). I returned his kitty cat and he stayed in bed, although I could hear him talking to himself for another 30 minutes before he fell asleep. It was definitely a good reminder for me to stay on track with bedtime schedules and routines.
You can see from this confession that I make mistakes too. It’s not always easy to get kids to bed at the right time or to always stay consistent. It is important to remember that what is important is what you do MOST of the time. If my son had stayed up late one night, he would have been fine and the laundry basket incident wouldn’t have happened. I let things go for too many nights and that’s why he had such an extreme response.
When you stay consistent, you make your own life so much easier. Don’t do what I did!