3 Keys To A Stress Free Bed Time
As a therapist for over 18 years, a mother, a daughter, a psychology professor and as someone who is fluent in 2 very different cultures. I can say that the scoop on bedtime is not black and white. While it is very important to give our kids plenty of time to rest so their little bodies can grow healthy and strong. It is also important to make this a process where they are learning about choices and understanding the importance of listening to their body. Just like now we understand the importance of mindful eating and that we want them to develop a healthy relationship with food. I feel the same way about sleep routines.
When I first became a mom, I was told by a renowned pediatrician that I truly love and respect, that I should not listen to my own intuition when it came to sleep training. I can tell after almost 2 decades of working with moms, that could not be further away from the truth.
Always follow your intuition.
Our kids were not meant to be domesticated pets. They have emotional needs that need to be met. And when they are not met, they will fight for them. That is the genius of childhood. The kids that give their parents the hardest times are so incredibly brave. They refuse to conform.
When they have their emotional needs met, they grow up stronger, more resilient, greater flexibility and capacity to adapt to changing circumstances. Our goal today is for YOU to really get to know your child and what they need.
- Stop The Struggle
So many homes are over-scheduled, we are trying to do too many things. Women are especially guilty of using this question to make decisions: What am I capable of? Instead I have them switch to: What am I comfortable with? You were not meant to test yourself on a daily basis of what you are capable of, that’s why so many women are exhausted.
- Focus On What You WANT!
Think about why you want a happier bedtime routine and have a conversation with those around you describing what you would like. Imagine your life is like a restaurant and everything in it is on the menu. Some people go through life ordering everything they don’t want. That is what you are doing when you just talk about what you don’t want. Start talking about what you DO want.
- Is Routine King?
While routine is important, kids love structure and the familiar, their emotional needs are very important. Identify the different emotional needs of all the players and come up with a new game plan where these needs can be met. My son is a snuggler and a talker. Just like me. But my patience at 7:30 and 8 is running low. So I aim to be in bed by 7:30 so that he has a little bit of time to talk, read and snuggle. But on the days we’re running late because we had something going on, I’ll tell him. Lovie, I’m super tired, we can read 2 pages, say our prayer and lights out. I still have to clean up the kitchen, and I want to go to bed soon too. You have 2 choices: go to bed by yourself or go to bed quickly with me. He picks going to bed quickly with me. Giving them a CHOICE is very powerful. You just have to pick 2 choices you would be ok with, and then let them feel like they are deciding for themselves.
You just have to be one step ahead of the game!
THE HONEST MOM TIPS FROM OUR HOUSEHOLDS TO YOURS!
Bedtimes are delicious for me. My son understands that this is an experience for both of us. So during bath time I will always play with him for at least 2min. Playtime w kids is like buying Disney stock. You will get more bang for your buck. Playtime is the fuel for a happy family. It brings you closer because you are speaking the language of childhood. They feel you are there with them. They feel loved. And it’s 100x more powerful if you enjoy it.
If you start to incorporate things that make you happy, your favorite music during bath time, get a few books that you would actually enjoy reading to your child and let them pick from that pile, it stops being just about getting them to bed and actually enjoying that time with them. Every day gets to be an expression of who you both are. I love playing Glen Miller during bath time and while I clean up the kitchen. I love snuggling, hugs & kisses. My guiding star is that only for a few years will I have this delicious boy wanting me to snuggle & read to him. Soon he will be a teenager. And I will have cherished as much of these years as I possibly could. Perspective is a gift. I’ve seen parents lament that they miss their kids when they were younger all while trying really hard to just get through life like if it were a chore. So if I know this age is fleeting, why not stop and enjoy it?
Let everybody off the hook, ask yourself: What are some ways I can enjoy this time with my kids?
There are as many ways of doing motherhood as there are women on this planet. You just have to find your groove. What works for you and your family.
Follow your intuition, not instructions from others. You need to be the visionary. Only you truly know what your family needs. Trust that.
Wishing you a happier bedtime!
Make sure you check out all of our ihelpmoms.com sleep experts and family therapists to create a more peaceful journey through motherhood!
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Michelle and Marcela