Monday, June 08, 2009

Bedtime Mayhem

the mischief makers

I've been putting off writing about this topic because it exhausts me even to think of it.

Bedtime is a disaster. Before toddler beds it was easy breezy. Bath, book, bed, zip up the crib tents and say goodnight. Since we moved them to toddler beds in October our life has not been the same.

These days we put the kids to bed around 7:30pm each night but they don't end up going to sleep until around 9pm. The kids do not want to go to bed, or stay in bed. They would rather run, play, jump, screech and giggle. Remember slumber parties? Then you get the idea.

We have to repeatedly put them back in bed. It is maddening, and exhausting. Sometimes we leave the room for a bit to get our sanity back, but we can't leave them long before someones lovely is stolen which inevitably leads to someone getting injured followed by lots of crying.

I finally reached out to my triplet chat groups for advice and the responses were generally commiserating, everyone seems to be facing the same issues.

Here is our bedtime routine

1. Relaxing bath with lavender oil (splash party time)

2. 'Quiet' play time (books, toys, not so quiet)

We were doing this in their bedroom for wind down time but their room is large and they want to run and play chase and tackle so now we are trying to do quiet play in the upstairs playroom and when we move to bedroom it is straight to bed.

Less running, but still not working. We are also trying harder to avoid any TV in the afternoons and before bedtime. Although this is missed because we could get them to occasionally lie down and relax a bit.

3. Bedtime. Get into bed, sing calm bedtime songs, short back rubs and kisses. We have tried lots of things here including spending more time to get them calm, which often results in who ever is not getting attention to call out to be held. We've tried giving them water, enticing them with a special toy, and threatening them.

4. Back to bed. Spend the next hour or two putting them back in bed. This seems to be lots of fun for them. Here we try not to give them attention for negative behavior but they are pretty good at getting our attention. Some moms recommend leaving the room for 30 mins then returning to battle bedtime when they are more tired. This idea has merit but as I mentioned often their rowdy play leads to someone getting hurt. Also, I think they have figured out if someone is crying we will come back in so there is some incentive to see that this happens. Still we have to do this occasionally just so we don't go crazy.

One mom suggested giving the kids a book in bed, we may try this again. When they have a toy or book it can take longer to go to sleep but they may stay in their bed longer. This works better with Lily than the boys who are more eager to run around. Lily is less likely to get out of bed but will encourage the boys to get out by calling out to them. And occasionally she joins in.

A couple moms questioned our naps. During the week when Carmen is here they get solid naps, probably too late and too long. We put them down a bit earlier today. I'm not ready to give up naps and it doesn't seem to help too much on the weekends when they don't nap.

And well Holden, that is another story. He sleeps great but is still sleeping with me. David converted his bed to a toddler bed last night and I pushed a twin bed up to it to transition him there. We will work on this and getting him to sleep alone for nap times as our first step. Although today didn't work out so well.

Let me know if you have any other ideas for us.


Anonymous said...

I wouldn't cut out any naps, just reduce them in length. Start at same time but wake them a little earlier each day. Also, try pushing back bedtime a bit later. They don't always adjust to time changes or longer days, and something inside may be telling them it's not dark yet. You could start their routine a little later and still get them down at the same time. Good luck!

The Koesters said...

I'm sorry for laughing....but you are a good blogger!!!! Laughing out loud at how honest you are, Jenn!!!! Good luck with this one....sorry no advice from me. With a 7 month old, I can only prepare for what is coming and hope you will pass along the wisdom! :)