Every night I spend at least an hour fighting to get my two children into their beds. I have a standard routine that I’ve followed for almost two years, since my eldest started school. After dinner the children take a bath, we play a board game, read a bedtime story, and then get tucked in. However, my children spend the next hour coming out of their rooms to talk, get a drink, or remind me of something they need me to do the next day. On the rare night when they stay in their rooms, I can hear them playing softly. I usually do not take an issue with that since I’m exhausted and just want some quiet time. What can I do to help my children fall asleep?
Burdened By Bedtime
Dear Burdened By Bedtime,
I have to be honest, I’m a bit let down by your problem. The first sentence had me enthralled. I was expecting to hear about tantrums, shrieking, punching, maybe even a dodgy bit of biting from a wild-eyed Miniature Human who had been awake for 40 hours and counting. Instead, I was greeted with light conversation and quiet playing.
How many parents have offered to trade places with you?!
This problem, and I use that word under protest, does seem to have a clear solution. Your Miniature Humans are getting older and it seems you need to shift their bedtimes back a bit. Obviously, they are not tired or else they would be sleeping during that hour in which they are planning out their next day and giving you reminders of things that need to be accomplished.
Somewhere in the world, a harried parent is packing up incomplete homework at midnight.
As for the rare nights when your Miniature Humans play softly in their rooms, I can only hope you get down on your knees and thank whoever is floating above us all for the gift that you have been granted. I have witnessed my young human cousins use their time in bed to sing Disney show tunes at the top of their lungs to avoid closing their eyes.
It’s a miracle I wasn’t rendered deaf by their incessant caterwauling.
Shift your Miniature Humans’ bedtimes back by thirty minutes and see if the problem resolves. This will give them a bit more time to become sleepy and address all those last minute thoughts they need to share with you. Be sure to look for signs of fatigue before moving the bedtime back any further, sleep deprivation is accumulative and may take a few days to show up. Your goal should not be to get them into bed and have them instantly fall into a deep slumber.
Even overworked adults spend a few minutes staring at the ceiling.
If moving their bedtime isn’t possible without losing all of your alone time, then you should provide more active play for your Miniature Humans in the afternoon. Take them to a park or playground for an hour, enroll them in sports, or tackle a few local hikes in your area each week.
If all else fails, trade places with another parent and see how great you have it.
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