I'm sure bedtime is a struggle for most parents. Life isn't always routine, and I think the lack of routine really takes a toll on kids. Throw a deployment into the mix, and bedtime goes from bad to worse.
Grace has struggled with bedtime since Joel left. Some of it had to do with the fact that Joel and I let her stay up late with us for the month leading up to his deployment. As soon as he left, I was ready to get back to the normal 8 o'clock bedtime - Grace wasn't into the idea. At all.
The last several weeks have been rough come 7 o'clock in our house. Grace was fighting bedtime, although she was obviously tired. She would come in and out of her room - begging me to go to bed, too. I know much of this was because of separation anxiety. But I was tired and just wanted a few hours of "me" time.
I was talking about this with a girlfriend of mine, and she mentioned a book she read on the subject - Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth. Now, I haven't read the book, but much of what she said made a lot of sense to me. She suggested I start putting Grace to bed a bit earlier each night and eventually work toward a 7 o'clock bedtime.
I decided to cut out nap time at our house, and rename it "quiet time". Grace has to basically chill out in the afternoon for one hour - she can read books, play with her dolls and listen to stories on her CD player - but she has to lay down and she isn't allowed to talk. Most of the time she's pretty agreeable with the whole thing and sometimes she'll fall asleep for an hour or two.
Bedtimes have gone so much smoother here the last two weeks. Grace is tired by 6:30, so after dinner she gets in her pj's, picks out a few books and we read and talk until bedtime. It's actually been a really peaceful routine for us! Praise Jesus. Seriously, PRAISE JESUS!
We haven't fought. There has been no yelling. She's not b-e-g-g-i-n-g me to go to bed with her. She's tired and ready for bed. And within an hour or so, she's asleep and I'm able to do housework, spend time with Autumn and relax. I feel like a whole new person.
I'm crossing my fingers and praying that this new routine becomes our permanent routine. Please Lord, this momma's tired.