C.J. asks from Linden, MI on June 23, 2008
Bedtime Routine - Linden,MI
I am a little embarrassed to be sharing this with everyone, but I think my bedtime routine has gotten a little out of control. I have a 5 year old, a 3 year old, and a 4 month old. Our current routine is this: after I feed the baby, my husband holds him while I spend about 2 hours getting the older 2 to bed. We spend about 30 minutes brushing teeth and getting pajamas on. This is always a struggle. Then we lay in my daughters double bed with me in the middle and I read for 30 minutes while laying down. Then I turn the light out and lay with them until they fall asleep, which takes another 30 to 60 minutes. I am frquently saying "No talking, no moving" and we usually have at least one bathroom trip in that hour (even though they did go before going to bed). After they fall asleep, I move my son into his room, then go to my own bed. I know that many of you are shaking your heads at me right now thinking that they are way too old to have me lay with them until they fall asleep. The truth is, I enjoy this special time with them as much as they enjoy me there. I have tried to let them fall asleep by themselves before but they cry and say they are scared. I'm afraid I have to change my routine though, because it is taking a toll on my marriage. My husband does not want to spend 2 hours watching TV by himself (well, with the baby) while I put them to bed, and when the baby gets a little older I'll probably be in even bigger trouble. So, what should I do? Should I change my routine now, or is it okay? If I need to change, what tips do you have for getting them to be brave and not cry?
S.R. answers from Detroit on June 24, 2008
Supernanny Jo Frost has good results in very similar situations when I watch her show. She has a book now, too.
C.B. answers from Detroit on June 24, 2008
Your bedtime routine has gotten a little out of control.
Yes you should stop this. If you don't, mark my word you will be a victim of your kids' control techniques. Change it now and quit babying them, start setting some boundaries and ground rules, make a different time of day to enjoy being with your kids. At bedtime, sing a couple songs with them, do prayers if that's part of it, and leave. It will take consistency on your part if they scream and/or get up. Take them back, tell them to stay put. Hubby should be with you on this.
If you don't, it will only escalate into bigger and more dramatic situations. And as they grow they'll use other things to have their way. Remember you are the parent.
V.M. answers from Detroit on June 24, 2008
Change the routine. I am a newly divorced mom of 4 young ones; save your marriage before it's too late.
Read a story in each child's' bed. Instead of 30 minutes, try about 10 minutes in each room. Lay with each one for no more than 5 minutes. Leave the door open, leave a night light on. Find out what they are "scared" of and reassure them that things will be ok. Good news is they do not get up in the middle of the night...right? Good luck! Contact me if you need more information!
L.H. answers from Detroit on June 24, 2008
Yup. It's just my opinion , but change that routine now! A little 'tough love' now will save you a huge pain later.. and possibly your relationship with your hubby!
Just sit down with the older two and explain that there is noting scary there , that THEY have the power to think bad things out of thier head. That you are always only a room away. That they need to be bigger girls now and brave.
Be firm... it's hard.
Leave the room after reading to them even if they get sobby. Dont forget to tell them you love your brave big girls!
Keep with the new routine... and praise them in the morning.
First week may be tough. That's ok.
It's always hard to stop a behavior once you start it ... don't lay in bed with the new one.. nip THAT in the bud.
Find other ways to be close to them and have together time. It will be worth it!
M.B. answers from Kalamazoo on June 24, 2008
I am sorry to say but do need to start right now getting things changed..
I am a mom of 4 and a child care provider and it sounds as thou you have been suckered by the kids.
I would get the teeth brushed, pjs and give them one bed time story and read it on the couch. (involve the hubby and baby have dad be a patrol officer in this too) (GET OUT OF THE BED!!!)
the way you wrote the kids sleep together.. you need to seperate them. bunk beds or two singles. they can't be together (maybe one should bunk with baby if they don't behave?) anyway your going to have to stick to the guns and even if they cry turn the other cheek they will go to sleep.. Start on a weekend so If they are up longer than usual you have a more calming weekend. you can't keep running to them when you hear a whimper or see a tear.
Possibly do this and if they go to sleep and stay in bed reward them for being such big girls and going straight to bed with NO problems..
A big chart with a supper cool reward is in order... Make it neat with the kids help. Decorate it with stickers and pictures etc. kids love to cut out pictures (parents magazine is great) then make sure to make a picture or spell out what the reward is hang it on the fridge. reward can be(chuckie cheese, new toy, what ever but it has to be big) start on Friday night.
if they do good they get a happy face and for the next 7 day's if they get a happy face you provide the reward on saturday.. For any and I mean any time you have to get up and get after them for making a bit of a fuss you tell them the next morning while looking at the chart with them and explaining(hummm Mommy or daddy had to come to your room and ask you to stop talking etc..) for that you get a sad face :( they will catch on. they will get a weeks worth of sad faces and then magic will happen and you will start getting happy faces. Oh and at first when you do this send dad up to tell kids to be good- I feel kids respect men more and it I think is their deep voice.
L.C. answers from Saginaw on June 24, 2008
I do about the same thing with my daughter.
I make it a game. It is me against my daughter. We race to see who can get ready for bed first, then brushing teeth. I limit her to two stories and if she took to long getting ready, she loses a story. I also play baby lullibies. I do lay down with her until she is asleep. There is nothing wrong with making your child feeling safe to fall asleep.
I know a lot of people don't agree with this but you have to do what you feel is right.
Good luck, L.
C.C. answers from Grand Rapids on June 24, 2008
the longer you wait, the worse it will get! they are 'big' kids and can & should know how to fall asleep on their own. spending time with them before bed is fine, just do it and then tuck them in (or whatever your routine would be) and leave their room. and it's o.k. if they cry! reassure them and send them back to bed. after a while just send them back to bed, no conversation or negotiating. please do this for your kids and for your husband, not to mention your sanity! good luck! :)
M.S. answers from Detroit on June 24, 2008
You sound like a very kind and caring mom. I believe if you are happy doing this bedtime routine and it brings you pleasure then you should continue on with it. But I am thinking by the fact that you brought it up here that it must becoming to much. I am sure this routine started out with the best intentions from your heart so then you feel quilty wanting to change it because it is what the kids have come to know. I understand completely........been there myself.
Everyone has given you great ideas so I don't need to give you more. The key is to make it a bedtime routine you can live with for a long time so you don't have to tweak it all the time. For me...the less the better. My son will ask me to lay down with him or chit chat with him etc. etc. this is a childs way of stalling. Don't fall into their traps.
If your childrens needs are met through out the day then they
are just fine at bedtime don't fall into the quilty trap that they need you. They are fine. They will build great self esteem and confindence by being able to quiet them selves down at bedtime on their own. Really this is harder on you then it is on them. Kids just want to know the boundries.
They want to know that you believe in them that you believe they are capable of going to bed like big kids. The more you comfort them at bedtime the more you are sending out the message that they are not able to do this themselves.
Your heart is in the right place but sometimes we have to parent from our heads (that is hard for moms to do) so it would be great for you husband to get involved in it. Maybe
you hold the baby while he puts the kids to bed.....:)
Best of luck. I know it's hard making changes.
Let us know how it goes.
N.K. answers from Detroit on June 25, 2008
You absolutely have to change your routine now than later. First, it's not healthy on anyone in the family. Two, their way too old, and three they say their scared, so why not explain to them what "happy things" or "fun things" that you all are going to do the next day so they have something good to think about to make them fall asleep easier. To be honest, your almost making the kids lose self confidence b\c they fall asleep seeing you and they know that's how they been able to fall asleep. It's never happened on their own before so that thought alone frightens them. Think about it. Do you want to be doing that for much longer?? Yes the bonding is great but do it in a more postive way like giving them an idea to put into their head about the next few days of fun activites your going to have with them as you start this new routine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Good Luck