June 16, 2010

The Bedtime Battle

Some nights my daughters... all four of them... go to sleep before their heads hit the pillow. Nearly every night, Cakes and Tortilla are out fast. Roo and Sue Sue are another story.
They want to talk... and talk... and talk. In a perfect world, they would go to bed later than they currently do. Unfortunately, Cakes and Tortilla can't handle it. They need to go to bed at their current bed time and it would be a nightmare to try to convince them that their sisters should be allowed to stay up later.
I've tried everything. I try to wear them out during the day, but not make them "overtired." I tuck Roo and Sue Sue in last. I've let them read books. I've let them whisper to one another. It always results in them becoming loud and out of control. I'm ready to pull my hair out. It doesn't matter what I threaten them with: taking away coveted stuffed animals at night, taking away their Pillow Pets if they misbehave, even revoking a privilege for the next day... in that moment in time they simply don't care. In fact, they usually just laugh at me. Not every night is a disaster, but it seems to happen more and more often.
So please, please, please, provide me with some sanity tonight and tell me what you do to get your kiddos to stay quiet in bed.


Stephanie Barr said...

I don't have a solution. We never could get my son to go to bed when we wanted him to. He just puts himself to bed when he's tired (usually before nine), but we don't have three others the same age to cause a problem for.

We put the baby to bed, but she's like Cakes and Tortilla.

I've discovered that you can't make children be morning people or night people (all night people at my house). Nor do I know how to "make" children go to sleep. As a life-long insomniac, I'm not sure they can do it even if they wanted to.

The best I could suggest is not penalizing them as long as (a) they're quiet and (b) can get up in the morning. Either one gets their night time going to bed routine accelerated.

But I'd be completely guessing. Chances are, trial and error is your best bet.

Good luck.

Christina said...

Eeek, I don't know. How many times do you go in there a night? My girls go to bed fairly well, they do chat for a bit. Most of the time its lights out, their out, but others not so much. My hubby has his computer time after they go down, and his office is right by their room. If he goes in there to much, they keep acting up...its like a game with them. Lets see how many times we can have Daddy come in here. ;)
I guess that's my advice...maybe less trips? Good luck. :)

reanbean said...

Do you have the Good Nite Lite? We just got one and it's been working amazingly well for us (we got it to help with our night waking issue, though).

I was recently reading the Weissbluth sleep book, and it recommended having sleep rules for kids older than three who were having difficulties either going to sleep or staying asleep. Basically the rules were something like 1) get in bed 2) lay down 3) stay quiet 4) go to sleep. These are probably not the actual rules, but on the same wavelength. I'm sure you could make up your own rules for whatever you want them to do and feel would be acceptable, appropriate behavior for that time period when you need them to be in bed, but know they will not be ready to sleep yet. And then he said to give major praise in the morning after they've followed the rules. You can use a sticker chart too and perhaps they get to do something special after X number of stickers have been earned.

Your situation definitely doesn't sound fun. Hopefully things will improve soon.

Quadmama said...

I've seen the Good Nite Lite and I've heard good things about it. I have Tinkerbell clocks for each room that I haven't put in yet and I was thinking about that, showing them what is bed time and what is wake up time.

MaryAnne said...

I think you're doing great to have all four girls sleeping consistently in their own beds - that's one of many sleep-related ongoing struggles at our house.

Have you tried reward charts? Maybe the girls could get a small prize for staying quiet? It's a system that's worked well for keeping Emma from waking us up at night.

Kim said...

That's a tough one. My twins are pretty good at night—it was naptime that was giving me fits. I finally solved it by getting them tucked in and then taking my place on the floor with a big pillow and my laptop. They didn't dare act up with me right there, and would fall asleep in about 15 minutes.

You could always try chewable peppermint melatonin (30 min before bedtime) on the 2 who have trouble falling asleep . . .

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