Monday, May 3, 2010

Small Bedtime Victories

Bedtime can be unnerving for parents, especially when there are uncooperative children and/or fussy babies added to the mix. Here are a couple of small changes to our bedtime routine that have made a huge difference, especially with our two-and-a-half year old:

1) Bath-time: Maria loves her bath and was having a very hard time getting out when it was time to dry off - crying and flailing of limbs were commonplace, and I was getting desperate. Not only is this annoying, but it is extremely dangerous to have a slippery toddler throwing a tantrum in the bathtub. I decided to use a kitchen timer to mark the end of bath-time, and for the past few days we have had no trouble leaving the bath. Wow! Perhaps the novelty will wear off in a few days, but I hope not! Somehow, having the timer "tell" Maria that bath-time is over (as opposed to mommy) has made a huge difference.

2) Brushing teeth: Our toddler was also hesitant to let me help her with brushing teeth, so I decided to try something silly as a distraction. I tell her that the "sugar monsters" are trying to eat her teeth, or the "chocolate soldiers" are setting up camp in her mouth, etc., and then we try to brush them away. Again, since we've started this she is happy to let me brush!

3) Bedtime: Maria was always asking for "one more story," as all children do, and was getting very upset when it was time to climb into bed. Now, before I read the last story, I have her repeat the words "This is Maria's last story, no more stories after this one," and usually it seems to do the trick. Not always, but usually.

Hope these small tricks can help some of you out there! And if you have any pointers to share with us, please do so in the comments - we can all use all the help we can get when it comes to sending the little ones off to dreamland :)

God bless!


Young Mom said...

The last important part of our bedtime routine is winding up the music box on the closet shelf.

Molly said...

These are great tips, Kat--I'm sure I'll be using them when we get to the toddler stage!

I'd also be grateful if the Builders could share at some point (here, or in a separate post) how they established sleep habits for their little babies. We're nearing the 5-month mark and I've thoroughly confused myself by reading tons of different books with different sleep-training philosophies, and have been told by Dr. Weissbluth that I'm weak if I don't CIO, and I've been told by Dr. Sears that I'm heartless if I do!

Did you ladies CIO? Are you no-cry folks (and if so, how did you do it)? Thanks!

B-Mama said...

Molly, I think you've touched on an important point in your query--there are MANY different philosophies out there as to how to get babies into good sleep habits. Weissbluth's "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" is practically a Bible in my sleep training, as is "The Baby Whisperer" by Tracey Hogg.

I love that Weissbluth takes a scientific approach to his sleep philosophy... yet still offers the rock-to-sleep parents option A and CIO parents option B. I appreciate that he looks at sleep through brain development.

He is also the reason I DON'T let my kids CIO in the middle of the night (including early morning) until they are 9mos. old. He says something in the book about kids through 9mos. sometimes needing 1-2 feedings in the night. You'd better believe when 9mos. hits, we allow a little CIO in the early morning hours. I then have Weissbluth's good blessing!!

Take your pick on a philosophy that works for you! For me, a little CIO to help with naptimes, bedtimes, etc. doesn't hurt my conscience too badly. And I've seen it work perfectly 3 times around! My second guy required a little more crying, but my 1st and 3rd had very few tears in the process. Good luck!

Also, Kat, great tips! It's so funny how so many of these are already part of our routine because of dealing with a VERY strong-willed #1. ha!