When I hear a parent utter the word “bedtime”, I clench up a little right off. It nearly always is followed by a parent’s frustrations with bedtime issues. How can we all make bedtime more pleasant for ourselves and our kids??
I do not have the magic answer. Just to state that up front so y’all are not mislead. I’ll just share a little of what I’ve experienced so far – and if you’d like to share another idea, please add on! I’m sure we’d all love to learn more!
First of all, bedtimes with babies are totally different from bedtimes with toddlers. Toddlers are totally different from preschoolers. However, in my experience, once you get to 5yrs old or so, it’s about the same from there all the way through high school with only some minor alterations.
- Babies. I don’t know. My opinion also remains that no one else knows either, not any book nor method nor “proven grandma’s technique”. What you might know is what works for one particular baby…or even two or three. With foster care, birth and adoption, I’ve parented about 30 babies. What I’ve really learned is what works for ME. That is, it works at our house to let my husband do night duty. He doesn’t mind, whereas I just don’t do well at all the next day if I’ve had night wakings! Other than that, regarding pacifiers or no pacifiers…sleep in your bed or your room or across the house with a monitor….cry to sleep, rock to sleep, feed to sleep….heck, we had one sleep in her baby swing every night…whatever it is, take what works for you and what works for your particular child and let the rest fly in the face of a big Mack truck.
- Toddlers. Please. I’m not even going to go there. I just would like to say a little prayer of gratitude that my youngest son turns 4 next month and is finally settling into a bedtime with few hassles. I will then be officially OUT of toddlerhood and associated bedtime hassles. I will miss many things about parenting a toddler. Bedtime will never be one of those. If you are a parent who has figured out even one idea that works for your toddler, pat yourself on the back. If you are frustrated that you haven’t quite figured out the perfect bedtime methods for your toddler, also pat yourself on the back. You’re not alone.
I’d REALLY like to add in a strong plug here for the bedtime story tradition! Start this with your babies and continue it up almost into forever. Yes, even in high school. If you’ve adopted a child at an older age, chances are they have no memories of bedtime stories. Make it a habit. If your child is older and new to your family, and it’s already a family habit, then it isn’t embarrassing for the newbie – a nice bonus there. The benefits of reading to your child are just so, so many – maybe for another blog to discuss. For now, just a plug from me to give it a shot!