Jun 26, 2014
As a parent one of your goals each and everyday, from the moment your children wake up is to tire them out. Mothers and fathers spend a good chunk of their day racking their brains to find activities in order to dwindle the energy level down, so that by the evening you can visibly see signs of exhaustion. This is not to say that we don't have fun with our children during the day. Of course we do. But come night time you just don't have a lot of fight left in you to argue about what pajamas to wear, the ones they want to wear don't fit anymore. Or the stalling tactics, I'm thirsty, I'm hungry, I need to brush my teeth for twenty more minutes, I peed in my pull-up. You are tired....you need them to be tired as well.
full disclosure: these pictures were taken before Ace's broken arm. now I panic if he jumps three inches off the ground.
So what is a parent to do? For us, the actual getting them to sleep part of bedtime is not an issue. Once they are in their beds, they stay there for the most part. It took awhile to get them like that, but consistency is the name of the game. All of our kids have co-slept so once they transitioned into their beds we kept a pretty strict routine. Baths, brush teeth, pajamas, read a book or two, say goodnight. The boys don't really put up a fight once the routine gets started. It is the build up that they avoid. Avalon is a little different, but she is only one so we cut her some slack. But your days are numbered girlfriend!
The one thing that has been challenging for us since we moved to Alaska is the sunlight in the summer time. The sun doesn't go down until almost midnight!!! I'm talking full on sunlight streaming through the windows. We have blackout curtains in all the bedrooms, but do you think that stops a four year old from opening them, seeing the sun, and then yelling at the top of his lungs "the sun is still awake so it is not time for bed yet". It is rough. There are some nights we can hear the boys bouncing off the walls in their room for hours after we put them up there (clearly I did not achieve the goal of tiring them out during the day). When Chris is home we rock-paper-scissor it out to see who will go up and make sure no one is bleeding from the head.
This is obviously unique to Alaska, but it switches in the winter and the sun sets very early and my children are wanting to fall asleep at 6:30. So, we have our fare share of night wars, but we don't ever give in. Once we put them in their rooms, that is where they stay. Even if they claim to be "steep wawking" we point them right back in the direction of their beds...moon walk your way back in there little minions.
Same goes for nap time. Well actually, Pierce and Ace don't nap, but when they did I just put them in their rooms and said sweet dreams. Right now with Avalon she takes one nap a day, and I rock her for a little bit and put her in her crib (she still sleeps with us at night).
I am clearly no expert on the subject, so just take this from a mama who contemplates a cup of coffee at 5 pm to make it to the 8 pm bedtime. But think about what you want the bedtime routine to look like, what you think will be easy and attainable, and stick with that. And if all else fails just have a dance party in your bedroom....TURN DOWN FOR WHAT played on repeat should lull them right to sleep! Oooookay! (said in your best lil john voice)
May the force be with you!