Bedtime is a time that I cherish, that I look forward to, that I plan for and daydream about. However, the love and appreciation of bedtime is wisdom that comes with age. Louis does not feel the same way. Bedtime is a time that Louis dreads, avoids, plans to evade, and probably has nightmares about – for he is a toddler, and he is convinced that going to bed means missing something exciting and fun. After a week or so of the nightly routine of Louis yelling, screaming, and tantruming I decided to consult Miss Cathy – his teacher. I needed reassurance that I was not, indeed, torturing my child by wanting him to go to bed. Here are the pointers I picked up:
Now I am lucky in my bedtime battle because Louis does not yet know that he can try to climb out of his crib, so half the battle is won. I am secondarily lucky because when he was in infant I bought him a mobile that, unbeknownst to me, also turns into a projector that now makes a picture show on his ceiling. So here is our bedtime routine, which has virtually eliminated the night-mare from night-night time.
It took Louis a couple of nights of yelling “Mama! Mama! Mama!” before he really understood that I wasn’t coming back (unless he was jumping out of his crib or crying enough to make himself sick – but he doesn’t know those tricks….yet) and that it was time to go to bed. The projector works miracles and helps him drift off to sleep. Even though I have to sacrifice a lot of my playtime with him in the evening, and for working parents the evening is sometimes all we have, I rest assured knowing he needs his sleep and this is the best plan for us right now. I am sure, however, that Louis will request, quite forcefully, that we re-negotiate the bedtime peace treaty in a few months.
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