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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a sort of strange dilemma because the most obvious solution (earlier bedtime) isn't an option. My cousin is working as an au pair here in Spain where I live and here duties include getting 2 lovely little girls, 3 and 5 yo, ready for school in the morning. They don't get to bed until 10.30 pm due to the fact that dinner doesn't happen til 9 (totally normal) and they want to be able to spend some time with their dad who doesn't get home until 8.30ish. The problem comes when my cousin needs to wake them up and get them ready for school at 8.00 am the next morning and they are dead tired.

The parents aren't open to altering the family "schedule" but my cousin is desperate to find a way to help these little girls get ready in the morning in the most loving, pleasant way possible. The mother has told her that if need be, she is to physically force the kids into their clothes, and this makes her really uncomfortable. Ideas? TIA!
 

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My dh is from a Mediterranean country where they also have (by American standards) a late supper. However, what they do is have 5 o'clock tea and while the adults take some small snack, it's more robust for the kids. Then at the supper, the kids are not extremely hungry, but eat a little bit. Dh's family's kids are in bed by 9:30 without being overly full, but satisfied and able to rest easily.

So, if supper is at 9:00, I don't see any reason why the kids can't be in bed by 9:30. They have a small meal with the parents' supper , then the au pair whisks them off to get ready for bed. I don't understand the lag time between a meal at 9:00pm and bedtime at 10:30. Dad has the half hour before dinner to spend with the kids and then he needs to utilize the weekends to spend time with them. It's just something they have to do because of their lifestyle. I realize the father probably can't adjust his schedule (SIL's hubby leaves work at 10am), but a lack of sleep for children is absolutely UNHEALTHY and even affects how their brains develop.
 

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Can they take naps/siestas?
 

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Are the kids taking a siesta? If not, they probably need one right after school gets out (unless their school day includes one after lunch).

I have spent some time in Spain and understand that a late supper is customary, but that is why siestas are part of the culture as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks so far... the 3 year old takes a daily nap as part of her 8 hour school day. Actually she might be better off without it as I suppose this is what gives her the little extra she needs to power through til post dinner fun with her dad. My cousin describes their post dinner activities along the lines of dancing around to music and generally energetic.

The problem is is that the family is not willing to change any part of their routine. While it's great that kids are included in nearly everything here, the downside is that there is often little adaptation their needs.

Mornings are obviously a regular problem as the au pair agreement specifically designates 8-9 am as au pair time. I think the parents have just decided that it is too difficult and have passed the problem along. My cousin, who is gentle and sunny by nature, is being asked to get them ready by nine using whatever it takes, including being rough and physical. Thus far, she's tried talking to the kids about possible solutions from their perspective, promising a special treat for making it through the week well, alternating whether they eat or get dressed first, being empathetic with them...
 

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Let them sleep in their clothes for the next day. DS does and it makes mornings much more pleasant around here. I used to also always bring him chocolate milk in bed--some sugar and protein to help him get up. Can breakfast be eaten on the way to school? All those things combined could mean an extra half hour of sleep in the mornings and fewer things to fight about.

Catherine
 

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Okay it sounds like the 3 year old is getting one nap at school and the five year old is getting no naps. Would a second nap for the 3 year old and a rest time when they get home from school or around 5or 6ish be an option? It wouldn't have to be long. A 20 minute nap at 5ish may help significantly.
 
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