Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bedtime Battles

I need some advice. I want to know what time do your kids sleep and most importantly, how do you enforce it?!
We are a family of night owls. Starting with my husband who works a whole lot of graveyard shifts, to me, Miss Stay-up-until-3 a.m. I know, I know, you’re thinking…..What can possibly be so important that she’s up at this crazy hour?
Well, obviously you haven’t played Words with Friends. I am absolutely ADDICTED!!! Currently, I’m engaged in 10 word battles with various opponents and I’m always looking for another fix or opponent, so look me up if you want to play! (Seriously, I think I might have a problem. Is it bad when you’re all bleary eyed and exhausted, lying in bed with the iPad propped up next to you, waiting for your opponent to make his next move? Could this be grounds for divorce?)
In all seriousness, how can I, an admitted Night Owl get her kids to bed at a reasonable hour and expect them to actually stay there and fall asleep? How do you do it? Do you have a routine that you follow every night? I did when the kids were babies….downtime, bath time, reading and then bedtime, but can you even do this for a first, fourth and sixth grader anymore?
For my oldest, it’s hard. On a typical day she doesn’t get home until 7:45 p.m. and then of course she has to eat (this is when you know she’s my daughter….man, that girl can eat!). Once dinner is done, we are looking at 8:45 p.m. when she’s finally putting pen to paper…the poor thing doesn’t finish until 11 or 12 at night. Which brings me to the crux of the problem — I feel bad for her. She barely ever has down time, so when the weekend rolls around, I allow her to stay up. I know, bad mom, but I want her be able to relax and not feel she is always on the run…I want her to hang out with friends, watch TV….and VEG OUT!!!
Please tell me that I’m not the only parent that feels this way. I know it sounds crazy, but I feel as if we need to schedule in playtime and down time, leaving no time for sleep.
I know sleep is important and I know my daughter is tired, so I try to let her sleep in whenever possible….on Sundays she doesn’t emerge from the covers until 12 noon and on the weekdays, I drive her to school which gives her some more snooze time, but I’m still literally prying her out of bed. What’s a mom to do? What are your suggestions? What’s working in your household?
The other issue that I have is that my two younger kids feel that they should also be going to bed around the same time as their older sister. UGH!!! I start getting them ready for bed around 9 p.m. (okay, so here is where I should probably make some adjustments, I guess we could start heading up around 8:30pm)…they bathe, change into their PJs and brush their teeth.
Then for the next two and a half hours, the real workout begins. I stomp up the stairs, yelling, "No DS in bed!" (FYI – take all handheld video games away at night)…. I stomp back down stairs, then 15 minutes later….stomp, stomp, stomp….NO giggling…stomp, stomp, stomp…10 minutes later, back up again…NO Talking…stomp, stomp, stomp…5 minutes later... NO Jumping…stomp, stomp, stomp...Then 2 minutes later…..(as my head spins around like Linda Blair in the Exorcist) I scream up the stairs…THAT’S IT!!! GO TO SLEEEEEP! Or you’re in big, and I mean BIG trouble!
Then I hear the click, click, click sound of my dog, as he heads into his crate for the night….why can’t my kids obey like him? Ohhhhh...that’s a good boy…
* This is an article I wrote for an online news site

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