Names have been changed to protect the innocent...and my husband...and me...but not the dog. His name is Dexter.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Favorite-Bedtime Routine

Recently I have been reading a parenting book, which is pretty unusual for me. This particular book is focused on raising spirited kids, which, if you've been reading this blog lately, you know that I have a couple of them. Cute, but spirited. I've always called them high octane. The phrase "force of nature" has also been used as an accurate description. But today I'm not going to write about this book because, ahem, I haven't finished it yet. What I am going to talk about is sleep.

No, this book doesn't put me to sleep, like parenting books of the past have. It puts Babs to sleep. When I first got this book, I was flipping through it reading random sections because that's so helpful when reading a parenting book. Anyway, there was a reference to a sleeping section, specifically getting children who have difficulty sleeping to sleep. Through the night and everything. For a few weeks leading up to this books arrival, Babs had decided to wake up each morning at 4 am to start her day. She would be content in her crib as long as CG or myself was in her room laying on the floor, thinking of the sleep we were missing out on. I'd usually make her stay in her crib until 6 am before officially starting our day. It was painful. And I was at a complete loss as to what to do. And I was exhausted. Oh, so exhausted.

So I speedily skipped to the sleeping section and read each page greedily, and slightly maniacally. There must be an answer! Lolly has always been a phenomenal sleeper and as much as I'd like to take full credit, with the addition of Babs I realized that it was just not true. Poor Babs. She's ended up being just as much of a guinea pig baby as Lolly has been.

It was a pretty simple solution. The point is that spirited children take a bit longer to adapt to a change, in anything from activity to sleep to a new environment or person. DUH! Like I didn't already know that about my kids, but I had just never connected it to Babs sleep problems.

The book recommended a four-step routine to help them transition to sleep.
  1. Transition Activity
  2. Connect & Calm Time
  3. Cue For Sleep
  4. Switch To Sleep
So I mentally figured out a routine that incorporated the things that we already did with a few minor adjustments. One of those adjustments being that on a regular night we start at 7 pm and on bath nights we start at the latest of 6:30 pm. The next night we did it a miracle happened. Both girls slept from 8 pm to 7 am WITHOUT WAKING UP!!!! Hallelujah!!! Yes, it takes a long time, but it is so worth it.

The next night I was at my sketching class and so CG had to go it alone on the new routine. To help him out I made a list of the new routine and Lolly really got into that. Almost every night after that she asked about the list so I decided to make a bedtime routine chart with Lolly as one of our little projects. And here is this fabulous thing that has brought such peace and happiness into our home.
It works because, although Lolly doesn't need the longer routine to get to sleep, she loves doing each thing on the chart and telling us what's next. Lolly gets the chart, Babs gets to sleep, everyone is happy!


Kristina P. said...

I'm so glad you found something that works!

And of course you're still invited tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

Now that is happy news for everyone. Is there anything in there regarding complete nervous breakdowns every afternoon for 2 year olds? Not that I need it or anything. . . .

Michelle said...

Yea for a good night of sleep!

3 Bay B Chicks said...

Anything that makes the bedtime routine pass quickly and without tears is a good thing. My house is pure chaos at bedtime. I will definitely have to try this method. I like the way your kids are able to "actively participate."


PS: Someday, you will have to tell me the story behind your M&M profile pic. I have always been intrigued. For starters, did you make it at M& I love her.

Jo said...

You were not dorky, and you were not shunned. I have been practicing your name in my head, because I embarrassed myself with that today. Usually I am better than that, so I have high standars for myself. It was so much fun today and I feel really lucky that I got to sit right by you.

Brad and Jenn said...

We had to implement a pretty strict bedtime routine at our house also. Now that we stick to it both of our kids generally sleep through the night. And why is it that if they can see you, they'll play happily in their bed? Congrats on some hard earned sleep!!! Enjoy!

Trace said...

This sounds fabulous!

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