Elusive Slumber… Will I ever sleep again?

People who say they sleep like a baby usually don’t have one.

Leo J Burke

I think one of the hottest topics in parent education class is SLEEP! How can parents get some? Why does it feel like kids are never tired? How can we stop the night time madness? My oldest is 26 and I am still trying to catch up on sleep from when he was an infant. He had colic(but that’s a whole new story).

There seems to be one theory for every question about getting kids to sleep……meaning there is far too much information flooding the market all with the good intent of helping parents. The challenge becomes what method should you adopt in order to make bed time cozy and cuddly like you see in movies? I am about to give you the magic answer….. the one you have been waiting for….. the absolute best system for putting your kids to bed! Are you ready? It’s called CONSISTENCY. Whatever system you choose to use- stick with it.

Making bedtime a ritual and predictable will help your children understand what you expect from them at bedtime You can even have them sleep in THEIR OWN room should you choose. Bedtime is a perfect reason to eliminate wishy-washy actions from your parenting tool set. One night, you may be feeling soft and you may let your child get out of bed to watch one more show, listen to one more story, or sit on your lap for a “little while” longer. Once you have made the decision to be soft, you have set your self up for much more difficulty in the future.

Kids are BRILLIANT and they will learn which buttons they can push in order to get a desired outcome. One outcome may be a later than normal bedtime. I still remember when my youngest child learned how to climb out of his crib. My husband put him to bed as he was normally pretty easy to get down for bed. We were chillaxin in our recliners, set to watch some grown up television and out popped Ryan, “Hi!” This is one of those time where you will want to laugh…..don’t do it! Ryan was also the kid who had a difficult time transitioning to a big boy bed because he could get up from that with no challenge!

What did we do? We stayed on message- both of us or life gets difficult. We put him back in bed every time he got up. Once he was old enough to understand, we told him he would have a ten minute earlier bedtime the next night for every time he jumped out of bed. The first time we gave him this ultimatum, he ended up going to bed 30 minutes early the next night. That was IT! For him, he didn’t want to miss out on anything that might be going on, and he figured going to bed early was one way to be sure to miss out.

It wasn’t magic. It wasn’t prayer. It wasn’t begging or pleading. It wasn’t trying every method under the stars. Consistency. It worked for us and I know it will work for you too! You may even discover some time to read a book, watch a movie, or just relax after the kids go to bed. Consistency=Simplicity.

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