It’s 8pm and not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
This is my house Sunday – Thursday.
When my family moved back to Florida my husband and I took the opportunity to make some changes. Back in NY my oldest had a TV in his room and he went to bed watching a DVD that played all night on repeat. Don’t let him wake up while the previews were playing! He would come into our room and not leave until one of us (me) would get up to fast forward through the previews.
There had to be a better way.
In Florida our boys would now be in daycare. This was a game changer. They now had somewhere to be. So, they needed real rest. My youngest was in the baby room. So, it wasn’t as big of a deal for him. He could nap when he wanted to. But not his big brother. He had a set nap time along with a set everything else time. Watching DVDs throughout the night was not going to cut it. So, we went rogue! We decided for the boys to share a room with no TV inside the room. As a child I remember getting my own TV in my room. My grandparents bought it for me and you couldn’t tell me anything! How crazy that it is “rogue” to not have a TV in a 4 year-olds room I digress…
We also implemented a strict 8pm bedtime. It takes work to make that happen, but it happens. Working full time outside of the home means I get home around 5:30pm/6pm. This means we have 2 hours to get everything done. I will be honest, we didn’t know how this would work. We were prepared for the constant trips back and forth to their bedroom repeatedly tucking them in. The whining and complaining about not being able to watch TV. Guess what? It never happened.
We have those 2 hours down to a science. My sister called one night and said “I saw what time it is and said let me call my sister, she should be giving my nephews a bath right now.” Even our family knows our schedule. That is how structured our schedule is. I had to travel for business a couple months ago and my mother in law watched the boys while my husband worked one evening. My 4 year old coached her through the whole night. He told her step by step what was supposed to happen and when it was time to go bed. At 8pm, my boys were in the bed.
When we first started this schedule they did not immediately go straight to sleep. But after about a week, they were adjusted. Now, it’s second nature. Their bodies are programmed to get tired around 8pm. On the flip side, they wake up very early. It may drive me crazy on those mornings I am woken before the alarm. But every night when I have peace and quiet to catch up on some work, or watch Survivor with my husband, it is all worth it.
For those moms that are struggling with bed time, don’t give up! There is life on the other side. Who knew my kid that couldn’t sleep without a DVD on repeat would be going to bed at 8pm with no TV and no complaints! Consistency is key. Stick with it and you will reap the reward.