One time, when we were kids, our family went to Disneyland during a square dancing convention. When we arrived that morning, we learned that the park was going to remain opened until 4 am. We were so excited when we learned this, because our family was cool, and we knew they would let us remain there until closing time (we got our money’s worth out of those Disney tickets). All night long, we ran around Disneyland, getting on ride after ride without having to wait in line. My Reyna (my Grandma) was with us, as well as other extended family, and we all have great memories of that (very long, very fun) day.
As it turns out, Barbara does not believe in set bedtimes either, and she also allows for flexibility in routine. I guess this should not have surprised me given her belief in natural consequences. She says that kids will learn to go to bed earlier after a few days of being tired at school. Instead of a set bedtime, give them routines and help them learn how to get to sleep on their own.
Sleep is something we are actively working on as parents (and part of our problem may be that I am not the best model in this area – I, too, resist sleep). Our (almost) two-year-old does not like to go to sleep (once she’s down, she stays down for ten hours or so, but she is not a napper and valiantly resists falling asleep). After reading this chapter, I think we need to develop structure without strict routine, but I’m not exactly sure what to do yet. Part of our problem is that we travel several times a year. We live in Florida, but we visit my family on the west coast – the time zone jump is tricky for sleep patterns, and requires us to be flexible.
I was glad to read that Barbara does not condone the popular “cry it out” method of sleep teaching. I don’t want my babies to cry themselves to sleep, even if it is just for a few days/hours. I want to teach them techniques so that they can happily go to sleep without their last thoughts of each day being sadness or frustration. That said, we just took bottles away from our little one (late, I know), and some nights have involved at least a few tears. She also asks for repeated potty trips because she knows we take those requests seriously (she is almost completely potty trained, so she sleeps in “big girl” undies).
While she includes a lot of useful techniques for helping infants sleep, for older children Barbara basically says that each family needs to determine what works best for everyone, and follow through. When she discusses her own practices, she phrases them as her family’s practices, and explains why they work for her family. I really like that she does not say that their way is better than that of another family.
One thing she and her husband do – they have a lock on their bedroom door that they use every night. The kids just have to knock, and a parent will be available for them. Among other reasons for this, she says teaches children to knock before entering another person’s bedroom, and it allows the parents to have privacy. I cannot imagine doing this in my home, but it works in hers. What about you?
Tomorrow: Potty Training
Scroll down for other posts about Kids Are Worth It:
Other posts about Kids Are Worth It:
Part 1: Kids Are Worth it, by Barbara Coloroso
Part 2: Do You Want to be a Butterfly?
Part 3: “Scratch-and-Sniff-Sticker and Star Syndrome”
Part 4: Real World Consequences
Part 5: We Don’t Do Sarcasm
Part 6: If You Have Strong-Willed Children, Lucky You
Part 7: Tantrums, Toddlers, and Teens
Part 8: Teach ‘Em a Lesson
Part 9: Sex, Drugs, and Teenagers
Part 10: Fighting like Cats and Dogs?
Part 11: Children as Professional Con Artists
Part 12: Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees
Part 13: I Love My Picky Eater(s)
Part 14: Please Baby, Sleep
Part 15: Big Kid Undies
Part 16: Birds and Bees