Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Evolution of the Bedtime Routine

Most parents of young children can vouch for the effectiveness and necessity of a bedtime routine.  Cooper is a champion sleeper at nearly five years old, though he didn't start out that way.  In fact, if you were to go back and read blog posts from 2008 and 2009, the general theme you would clue in on is the fact that he NEVER slept and his parents were in despair.  So we implemented a bedtime routine, hoping to get him sleeping well on his own.  This began simply as a bath, pjs, short story and song, then lights out.  Over time it worked!  And over time, the bedtime routine has evolved...

8:00 p.m.  Both kids take a bath. i.e. Both kids fight over bath toys until Mom gets fed up and starts the getting out process.  Cooper INSISTS he gets out first.

8:15 p.m. Cooper insists on putting on his own pajamas.  Mom helps Penny out and gets her pajamas on.

8:25 p.m.  Mom tells the kids its time for vitamins.  i.e. Mom says, "Time for gummy bears!" and a race to the kitchen ensues.  Cooper gets upset if he is not the "leader."  Cooper ALWAYS wants two red gummy bears (vitamins) and Penny always wants one orange and one yellow.

8:30 p.m.  Kids brush teeth.  Again,  Cooper gets upset if he is not the leader in the race to the bathroom.

8:35 p.m.  Penny goes to bed.  From here, all it is for her is a story and three songs.  Goodnight!  Cooper is allowed to play iPad while Penny is put to bed.

8:45 p.m.  Cooper gives us some lip service when we tell him to put the iPad away and to go upstairs.  He reminds us that he has to give Mom a hug first, and Mom has to be sitting on the couch when he does it.

8:50 p.m. Cooper bounds upstairs and hides behind the chair in his room, only because Mom threatens to be the leader upstairs.

8:52 p.m. Daddy comes upstairs and "finds" Cooper behind the chair, then tells him to go to the bathroom one last time.  Cooper is in NO hurry to do this and requires some prompting, i.e. threatening.

8:55 p.m. Mom reads a story.

9:05 to 9:10 p.m. (depending on story length and number of interruptions)  Cooper has to "look at the pretty lights."  This means he has to gaze out the window at the lights across the bay.

9:11 p.m.  Cooper has to "do his ahs."  This means he has to run from his room across the upstairs to our bathroom, then turn around, run back, and dive into his bed while yelling "AAAHHHH!"    Lately Cooper has wanted Daddy to do the last two steps with him.  Daddy has obliged...

9:12 p.m. Cooper says, "Roll Daddy Roll!"  This means Daddy has to roll onto his stomach so Cooper can cover him with his two blankets, which he calls the warm blanket and the cold blanket.  Then Coop crawls under the blankets with Daddy.

9:14 p.m. Daddy stands up and holds out the "warm" blanket like a bullfighter so Cooper can "bang" into it.  Cooper always says before this, "After I bang into the warm blanket I can bang into the cold blanket."  At which Mom says NO because we REALLY don't need to add any more steps to this routine!

9:15  Cooper dives into his pillow and we cover him with his warm and cold blankets.  At this point the light goes out and Daddy says goodnight.  This should be the end...but it's not.

9:17 p.m.  Mama sings Cooper a song, lets him have one last sip of water and THEN the lights go out!  Whew!

Yes, Cooper is a champion sleeper, but I can't help but wonder how in the world we got here!

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