Making a Rod for your Own Back
Firstly, if you don’t find that Rod Hull image funny then we can’t be friends. Secondly I’ve been planning on writing this article for a while. The irony is that by the time the kids are asleep I often don’t have the energy to write a blog post, especially when I’m knackered from the anxiety and depression.
Ever since Jack was born over five years ago Nina and I have battled with getting the kids to sleep. I think it’s natural for all parents to google methods and to speak to other parents looking for tips and techniques. Luckily Nina and I have the same views on parenting. We are pretty laid back and don’t like to enforce too many rules and routines on Jack and Lucy.
*I’m writing this at 11pm and just had to go and settle Jack after he shouted out for me from his room.
One of the main things people like to say in relation to putting kids to bed is that you don’t want to lie with them until they go to sleep because you’ll be “Making a rod for your own back” Exsqueeze me? Firstly that saying is rubbish and secondly, shut up.
Bedtime is Quality Time
Now I’m not saying that bedtime isn’t stressful because it is. Sometimes I want to throw one or both of the kids out of the window. If I did I think they’d still manage to nause my head from outside with ridiculous high pitched hybrid animal noises and ear piercing squeals. This being said, I do love the quality time that I eventually get when they have settled down.
A small caveat here. The way it works in our house is that I tend to put Jack to bed and Nina puts Lucy to bed. It’s just naturally developed like that and if I try and put Lucy to bed she just asks for Nina and vice versa for Jack. Lucy at present is an absolute nightmare going to bed. She just doesn’t seem to be tired. Ever. She stopped napping in the day before she was one and just doesn’t seem to need much sleep. Nina bears the brunt of this at the moment unfortunately.
Back to the topic. We’ve never been ones to try the controlled crying thing. The idea of letting my child cry uncontrollably for any amount of time ever is not one that I will go along with. I get the theory behind it, a little pain at the start leads to an easier time in the future apparently. I’m uncomfortable with the idea that putting your children to bed is a chore though. Yes it can be time consuming and can stop us doing other things that we’d like to do. However our kids want our attention, they want our hugs and our love. For me it’s important to put aside the fact that I’ve got chores to do or tv to watch and to spend time soothing Jack.
Reading & Learning
We always read a lot of books to Jack and Lucy at bedtime and they really enjoy listening to them. As Jack has gotten older this has really helped with his learning too. Now that he’s in year one at school he has a lot more reading and writing to do. The jump is quite big from reception to year one and he has found it a bit tough. At bedtime it’s lovely to hear him read the book along with me. Often it’ll be in broken sentences and it obviously takes him a while to get through it but i can notice how his reading is coming along. If I were to just read one book and then leave him on his own he would’t get that chance so that’s reason enough to spend the time with him for me.
One thing that does piss me of though is the bloody Mr.Men. I know they’re classic children’s books but they do my head in. I hate the style of writing and usually end up skipping sentences and paragraphs out to make them sound better. Also how un PC are they? I’m certainly not one of the PC brigade but when it comes to Jack and Lucy I’m always careful with what I say. I read Mr.Rude tonight. When he saw an overweight lady his comment was:
“Fatty! You’re supposed to eat the things in the fridge, not eat the fridge as well!”
Something tells me that the Mr.Men books have had their day – unfortunately Jack doesn’t agree.
When Jack is relaxed and sleepy I often have the best conversations with him. He’ll tell me about his day without being silly or getting distracted. He’ll speak honestly too. If there’s something that’s bothering him he’ll tell me when it’s just me and him. Some of these little things may seem trivial to an adult but they’re not to his little mind. This is really important for well-being from an early age. I want my kids to be able to talk openly and feel that I’m there for them.
Jack will be at his most tactile and loving at bedtime too. As he’s getting older he’s naturally becoming less forthcoming with his hugs and kisses. At bedtime though he just wants to be held as he drifts off to sleep. It makes him feel safe and loved and that means the world to me.
So our bedtime routine consists of a few books, usually a made up story about a superhero and then some songs. The last thing we do is listen to some sleep music on YouTube. Jack loves this and drifts off while listening to it and clutching on to my arm.
It’s the most beautiful thing in the world.