Saturday, May 17, 2008

Advice from the pros

(Ed. Note: This means you, dear friends!)

In preparation for one of my upcoming columns, and (if I'm being honest) for the preservation of my sanity and REM sleep this summer, I'm looking for some bedtime tips. As the days grow longer and the nights respectively shorter; what are your solutions for helping little ones (or even bigger ones) to get to sleep in the not-so-dark of night?

They can be tried and true, tested and trashed, or simply suggestions. I'll be looking to include two or three of them in my article, so please leave your name if you'd like to be quoted.



Christine M said...

Our general rule at bedtime is that they can keep the light on a little longer if they are in bed and reading. The reading time settles them down and encourages them to stay in one place long enough to start feeling sleepy.

patjrsmom said...

Thanks, Christine. How old are your two again? School-aged, right?

God Bless,

Becky said...

We have the same routine all year long. We eat dinner early (5:00), clean-up, the kids then take baths, we read books, sing, pray and they go to bed at 7:30 (school year) or 8:00 (summer). They always wake up at the same time so they are sleepy by bedtime even if it's light out.

Barb, sfo said...

Room-darkening shades help quite a bit, as does the "white noise" of a ceiling fan.

Anne said...

I think keeping a regular routine is so very important. For my children, it doesn't matter what time they go to bed at night, they still get up around the same time in the morning - 6:45-7:00am. So keeping the schedule,which for them means 8pm bedtime.

I do have room-darkening shades, I close windows, if possible to keep the 'neighborhood' noise out and put on a fan (ceiling or stand).

Also, when they were a little younger, (around 5-6)each of them learned the Robert Lewis Stevenson poem, "Bed in Summer." It helped them to know that even children many years ago had to go to bed before the sun went down.

Good luck on your article!

Anne K

Anonymous said...

Hi Jane-

We always had difficulty getting
our now 7 year old, Ian, to bed at night. I read in a parenting magazine about one technique involving money. I don't know what it's like in your house, but money sure talks in ours! Every night at bedtime, we would place four quarters outside of his door.
Each time he got out of bed and left his room we would take away a quarter(he would normally get out of bed 10 times or so before falling asleep) . The first few nights he woke up in the morning with no quarters left. We would go past the ice cream shop or Target and I would explain over and over about his chance to earn some spending money. After a while, he was waking up with all four of them! While the technique did cost us $7.00 on a good week, it was worth every penny. Obviously, you could use any coin denomination, quarters (a chance to earn a whole dollar!) worked for us. He is now in a routine where we don't need to use the money at night. I plan on using the method again with our "just-turned" four-year-old, Owen soon.

Kathy Fitz

patjrsmom said...

Boy, I'm so excited about all your ideas! And I'm off to check out that poem right away!

God Bless,

Anonymous said...

So exited about your columns! Our rule of thumb for summer is wear them out! Tons and tons and tons and tons of outdoor play and walks. We go for tricycle rides around the block, waling on foot to the dog park a few blocks away (we don't even have a dog)and lots of games in the yard. All the other comments also helped us, room darkening shades, etc.. Recently Soifa asked me at bedtime why the outside "lights" had not gone out yet, since it was still light out.

Good luck-

The Payne Family Blog said...

We are much like Christine... Reading time works for us. We use a routine and have them in bed around 8pm. They are then allowed to keep the light on to read for 30 mins. When I go into my 7 and 8 y/o's room they are almost always asleep before the 30 mins are up. My 11 yo is almost always awake, but is pretty good about settling down to sleep as soon as we turn the lights out:) Good luck with your article! I cannot wait to read it!!!

scmom (Barbara) said...

Wear their little legs out during the day. Lots of bike riding and running. You know how they crash after they've been swimming -- it's because they are so tired. And a glass of milk before bed.

Lately Peach has been making a tent over her bed (pulling a quilt up and tucking it in behind the headboard). I can't believe how fast she falls asleep underneath it!