“Mommy, can you read me another story?” my daughter will ask.
It isn’t so much that she wants another story. She is stalling so she doesn’t have to go to bed. If it isn’t a story, it is one more glass of water or a trip to the bathroom or a lullaby. And if I say no to her, she will try my husband (the softie).
Bedtimes around our house have never been an easy thing. As a baby, Jase never wanted to go to sleep unless one of us was nearby – preferably touching him. I know – it was a bad habit to start, but we were new parents. Finally, we ended up using cry-it-out to break him of the habit. Actually, I should say my husband did it because I couldn’t stand to hear him crying. I left the house at bedtime every night for a week.
But Jase did get better. Yes, there was that period of time when he was three when he didn’t want to sleep in his big boy bed. He wanted to sleep on the floor. And again, because it was easier, we let him. We even bought him a sleeping bag. I finally got him to sleep back in his bed by offering to let him redecorate his room. We moved the location of his bed to by the window and added some new animal sheets and an animal comforter. It worked. Five years later and he still sleeps in his bed.
Actually, now that he is eight, Jase is relatively easy to put to bed. He can tell time, so he knows when he needs to turn off the light. But every once in a while he will declare he is scared of something. I don’t think it is so much he is scared but is stalling. I don’t give into it, but my husband does. He will spend some time talking and reassuring him.
The real procrastinator is our daughter Lexie. After lights out, she will get up several times for different things. As it gets later and later, I get more upset with her – and sometimes my husband since he gives into her too often.
I think she is stalling. My husband thinks that she just can’t fall asleep. He suffers from some insomnia and has since childhood. He fears she is like him, and that it isn’t that she doesn’t want to go to sleep, but she can’t.
Either way, I feel she needs more sleep – especially since attending kindergarten full time is more draining. She gets up every morning at 6:30. Right now, we are lucky to get her asleep by 9:30 (lights out is at 9). That is 9 hours of sleep. Experts recommend five year olds get between 10 to 12 hours of sleep. She doesn’t nap so those hours need to come at night. (Actually both kids gave up naps before they were two years old.)
For 8 year olds, they recommend 10 to 11 hours though WebMD notes that most are only averaging 9 hours. Another website said school-aged kids should get 9 to 11 hours.
So right now, their bedtime routine starts with story time at 8 p.m. This is followed by my husband making up a story for them. This sometimes seems to wake them up a little more than I would like. They then go to their rooms and watch something on their iTouches. I know the experts say to stay away from “screen time” before bed but my husband doesn’t seem to believe them. (Hmmm…his “insomnia” might come from all his computer time before bed.)
I have suggested several times that we change their bedtime routine to see if it helps Lexie fall asleep faster. But since my husband is the one putting her to bed and is reluctant to change it, unless I take over bedtime, I guess we will be staying with this routine. All I can say is that I do believe a bedtime routine is necessary and will continue to try to get Lexie to go to sleep as early as I can.