Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bedtime: What A Nightmare

Since the day she came home from the hospital, I did everything they said to do to make your child a good sleeper. She never once slept with us in our bed. I put her down to sleep while she was still awake, but sleepy. She never, ever was rocked to sleep or put to sleep while eating. We stuck with a bed time routine without variation. It worked! Ella was easy to put down, never cried herself to sleep, and would go to bed at 7 PM and sleep for 11-12 hours at a time. That is until a few months ago when chaos broke loose.

My adorable little sleeper turned in to a monster at bed time. We didn't change a single thing -- she changed all on her own. Suddenly, she would cry for HOURS in her bed at night. She wanted something to drink in bed with her. She'd fall asleep late (I'm talking between 9-10 PM) and wake up early (around 6 AM) and be a crank all day long because she was exhausted. We stuck to our guns -- consistent routine, no TV in the evenings, 7 PM bedtime. It did not work. So we made some changes -- many contrary to what they tell you. And it worked.

1) We slowly tried out later bedtimes to see what worked. 8:30 PM seems to be the golden hour when she is tired and ready to sleep. It is MUCH later than I like, but it works. She is asleep within 20 minutes (usually).

2) We added TV in to our nighttime routine. It worked for a friend so we gave it a shot. We found that we have Thomas the Tank Engine on-Demand, which Ella loves. The episodes run about 5 minutes long so two are perfect pre-bed watching.

3) We changed our schedule. We used to eat dinner at 5 PM sharp for a 7 PM bedtime. Now we eat between 6-6:30 PM. This has been extremely difficult for me to get used to! It seems so late to be eating dinner. I also added in a larger snack between 2-3 PM so we can all make it to that later dinner time.

4) We scheduled daily outdoor time. We are lucky that Daddy gets home around 2:30 PM everyday so we can go to a park and run around for a good 2 hours. It has been very difficult for Ella to get outside to run around due to limitations of one vehicle, pregnancy, and the weather. Now as soon as Daddy gets home she asks to go "bye-byes". Sometimes I stay home, sometimes I go with them.

In general, the changes seem to be working. Ella is asleep before 9 PM, is waking up around 8 AM, and is in a much better mood during the day. Now let's hope the new baby sibling doesn't throw too much of a wrench in to the works!

2 Thoughts From Others:

Karin said...

I can relate.

Matt was SO cranky because he was getting to bed too late, but if I turned off his computer, he'd just lay awake until I fell asleep, then turn it back on.

I finally gave in to the snack in bed, which helps. And I set a timer, so he knows he only has 3 hours and 48 minutes online. But I think the hardest adjustment has been when I take the fuses out of the fuse box and he is left in the literal dark. That seem to put him right to sleep.

I did cave once and rocked him to sleep, but just once.

The Campbell Family said...

Yeah, THEY. Who do they think they are, anyway? One thing I have learned in 3 children is that none are the same. How somebody thought they could write a book that would be THE answer for all children is beyond me. Maybe it worked for their kids but none of it makes sense to me.

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