Has anyone ever gone from unstructured/no bedtime to 'bedtime routine'? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 11-13-2007, 05:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Right now, we have been mostly unstructured in the evenings, since dd#1 was born 6 years ago. Ds #2 goes to bed (family bed) around 8 or 9, I crash soon afterward, then dd stays up with dh until 10-ish. Lately, due to being pregnant, nursing 2yo ds, and homeschooling-mostly unschooling, I am yearning to have some limits in the evening. Dd is very active at night and wants to talk or be doing something with one of us as long as possible!
I wonder if anyone has ever gone down this road-from unstructured to structured or some limits, while still co-sleeping and using a family bed.
I'm thinking of how to do this...gradually phasing in time alone for dd in her room (she does have a room and sometimes sleeps there with dh) with quiet activities AND/OR explaining to her why I need some boundaries and see if she can come up with some ideas of how to do that. I don't feel the need to end co-sleeping, but do feel that some non-parenting time at the end of the day is essential for me-but is it possible? Just wondering:
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#2 of 5 Old 11-14-2007, 02:53 PM
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I would sit down with your 6 year old and talk about what a good routine for her would be. Let her help you come up with ideas and suggestions. If you involve her in the process, she's more likely to go along with it, I'd imagine.

I wouldn't approach it as setting up boundaries for her so you can have alone time (though there's nothing wrong with that being the actual impetus here, of course!). I would approach it with you wanting some suggestions and needing some Mama's Helper help.

A silly story maybe, but something that's a strong memory of the way my father once handled something, and it might help so I'm sharing:

When I was young, my grandfather gave me a pocket knife. My mother freaked (unbeknownst to me) but my father stepped in and sat down with me. He asked me if I knew what a weapon was. I said yes. He asked me how old someone should be before they could own a weapon. He wasn't making fun, nor scaring me. He was talking to me like an equal. I thought about it and said "twelve" (no clue why that age popped up in my head but there you have it). Dad nodded then pulled out the pocket knife. He said that he agreed with me and we would put it in his box for him to store for me until I was twelve.

The moral of the story is that he asked for my advice basically, and because of the way he approached the whole thing, I was able to think it through and accept the solution as fair. (He didn't give it back to me at 12 though, but by then I didn't really want it. He would've had I asked though, or probably had another conversation about weapons. )

So maybe if you talk to your daughter about a bedtime routine for her in that manner -- asking her input and genuinely hearing and incorporating what she suggests, then I'd bet money she'll be fine with it. ETA: Maybe even set up a time limit for trying it -- like one week or something and after the week sit down with her and talk about what's working and what isn't.

Then once you've got a routine established for her, look to the routine with your toddler. You might point out during the conversation with your daughter that the routine needs to include bathtime or whatever for the baby too.

Anyway, hope that helps. And good luck, Mama!

SAHM to Guinevere (04/05/06) and Eowyn (02/13/09)
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#3 of 5 Old 11-14-2007, 03:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the story nighten, it was meaningful! I see your point. I think any attempts at establishing a routine in the past have been met with resistance because dd knows it's about me having time alone. There are all kinds of things about that she doesn't like-rejection, jealousy of me being with dh, she also likes being up at night with us because it is like the old days when she was an only child. Anyway, that is a losing battle, to try to make that point that I need alone time. I like your suggestion-I'll try it out!
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#4 of 5 Old 11-15-2007, 12:52 AM
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I did go from no structured bedtime to a structured one, but dd was only 8 months, so I don't think it applies to your situation!

I hope you get it worked out.
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#5 of 5 Old 11-15-2007, 03:09 PM
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I went from totally unstructured to a very structured bedtime routine, straight from one to the other, and found it caused a big improvement in bedtimes. I met with no resistance but mine are younger than your dd.

Laura, CBE and mom to Maddiewaterbirth.jpg ( 06/03/04) & Graceuc.jpg (  09/10/06)
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