Sunday, June 15, 2008

New strategy, or rather desperate times....

I love summer - the late sunsets, the night games, the lingering in yards visiting with neighbors, the swimming, the flowers...I could go on and on. My kids love it too.

Usually the first few weeks we are pretty lax about bed times as we shift our routines, but now it's time to reign it in. It's sort of like grabbing a greased pig though, or getting that proverbial 'cat' back in the bag. It's pretty darn near impossible.

So tonight I announced the new going to bed dealio. Some nights we might be staying up later than others, but on the nights mom and dad say it's time for an earlier night - IT'S TIME. And just so everyone knows it, if we hear the kidlets talking, laughing, or whispering after they've been tucked in, bedtime will be 15 minutes earlier the following night. If the carrying on persists or we are met with protests, the bedtime magically moves up another 15 minutes. So far tonight, we are up to 30 minutes earlier bedtime tomorrow night. Now, if I can just remember that and follow-through.

And when they start crying tomorrow night about what a mean mother I am, I can always tell them about the "olden days" when I swear my mother put us to bed at 6:30 in the summer and we could hear the neighborhood kids choosing up sides for a pick-up baseball game right outside our window.

I'm thinking that gal was on to something.


Heffalump said...

I always thought it was horrible as a kid when we had to go to bed before it was even dark out. It was 9p.m. to bed no matter what time of year it was.
Our bunk bed was near the window and in the summer we would quietly read until it was too dark to see. That way we were happy to not be asleep so early, and Dad never knew because we were quiet.

Cocoa said...

My kids were all excited when school was finished for the year because it meant they could go to sleep later. But now the older girls have to rake and get up at 4:45 every morning so they have to go to bed at an earlier time then before. Ha! They haven't complained though, at least not yet. The novelty of getting to drive a tractor and rake hay for four hours every morning hasn't worn off yet.

Anonymous said...

I don't have kids myself, so I'm definately not one to dish out advice, but on behalf of my sisters and their children I've watched countless episodes of Super Nanny where she says that consistancy is the best thing for putting children to bed.

Good luck to ya!

Alisha said...

i am desperate for advice in this area! my little ones are just a joke to put to bed before it is dark. i should preface this with the fact that up until april we had a solid bed-time routine, they were in bed by 7:30 at the latest and went right to sleep. so i'm going on two months now of horrible bed-times.

scenario #1: i put them to bed somewhere between 7:30 and 8:30. i am desperate for alone, sane, non-mommy time where i actually get things done. this has yet to work. they will come to the door or yell out the window at me to let me know that some horrible injustice is being wrought. you know, like, "isa got out of bed mom" or, "i'm thirtsy, i need another kiss". no amount of threats or bribery has helped.

scenario #2: i work until it is almost dark (after 9pm) with the kiddos under foot the whole time. we go through the whole bed-time routine in the dark and they only come out once or twice to annoy me, if at all.

the really sad part is that in both scenarios they are not actually falling asleep until 10!!! what can i do? it's one of those moments in parent-hood when i realize i know nothing.

Mrs. Organic said...

heff - I did the flashlight under the covers thing.

cocoa - but then I would have to get up at 4:45 right?

jia - it's true, and it seemed much easier when they were younger, but now that they are older and their friends are outside having fun - it's much more difficult

alisha - I have a confession to make. When they were younger, I had them sleep in different rooms. And I put a slide bolt (her room was also very child-proofed) on the youngest one's door. I made sure they'd had water, a snack, stories and songs. Then I tucked them in and left a lamp on. They could look at books in bed as long as they were quiet. But! if they cried, the light went off and no more books. As soon as I put the older girls back in the same room - they kept each other up late. Bedtime is so frustrating sometimes!

The Family G said...

When I was little in the summertime and the whole world was outside but me, I would slip out my window that was screenless and sit on the roof (over the garage) and watch all the goings on in my pjs. This only lasted until I got caught of course.

I believe bribery has it’s place. Last summer in NZ, when I was trying to put five kids to sleep every summer night in an 18 ft. trailer, I resorted to a game. Who ever was asleep first won 50 cents that night, and if I couldn’t tell who was the first one asleep, because they were all so quiet (he, he, aren’t I tricky) then everyone would get the prize. Steve and I would then slip out the door and visit or play a board game in the cool evening, while the kids convinced us by their silence they were the first one to sleep. When they had earned two bucks or so they’d buy an ice cream novelty with their Hush Money and everyone was happy. I haven’t tried this one at home, but it works wonders camping and we’re all in the same tent.

The Happy Housewife said...

My parents let us stay up a little later in the summer, so I let my kids do the same, usually about 1/2 or so. Usually they are so worn out from playing outside all day they go to bed exhausted!

Anonymous said...

Let me know how this strategy works?

The Lazy Organizer said...

We have been horrible lately. My kids were up until midnight the other night and last night we were eating dinner at 10:00!!!

It is hard when it's so light outside. Normally we shoot for bed at 9 and lights out at 10.

Anonymous said...

Oh boy! This is a fun problem to solve. For our 3 year old turning off the night stand light worked great. Then she figured out how to climb up on top of the changing table and turn the light back on. So we countered with creativity and unscrewed the light bulb to turn it off. Ha! We have outsmarted the 3 year old. Well, that worked until she figured out a way to reach the main light switch. Hummm... no unscrewing of that light bulb! I had to counter with another Dad miricle problem solving solution - Yes you guessed it. Duct tape! It worked for keeping Michelle's fish from getting sucked on to her aquarium filter pump intake too! It is the greatest invention since the wheel, maybe fire.

Mr. Organic

Mrs. Organic said...

Yes, duct tape (necessity is the mother of invention) the key to all life's problems. Well, that and chocolate.

Family G - that sounds interesting, I may have to give that a shot for the girls

Lazy - I am the worst offender, I sometimes keep them up late so I can read to them or else dinner is at 8 so dad can be here too and then everything gets pushed later and later. THank goodness we don't have tv to distract us or my kids might never get to bed.