On Sunday, I announced at the dinner table that the New Bedtime Order was being implemented, starting that night.
M should be in bed by 8 p.m.
The girls should be in bed by 8:30 p.m. at the absolute latest. The hall light will not be left on; the bathroom light will be. If I come upstairs to find them playing with any toys or stuffed animals, I am taking them away for a week. After 9 p.m. they are not to come downstairs (“Unless,” Dan added, “you are bleeding, on fire, or have a broken bone”).
I also decided that we would be taking 15 to 30 minutes before bedtime to unwind and make bedtime calm and relaxing. The thundering around, and up and down the stairs was going to end.
In an attempt to help my girls relax and get ready to actually *sleep* — not just go to bed — I decided last night that we would try some yoga.
Kate was all over this decision.
Flora was adamantly against this decision.
Dan thought it was a good idea, and tried to persuade Flora to try it.
Flora found this incredibly upsetting.
While Flora cried on the couch, Kate and I did yoga for about 10 minutes.
Kate is good at yoga.
Ten minutes later, I sent Kate and Dan upstairs, and sat down to talk to my very distraught daughter.
She doesn’t like yoga. She doesn’t want to do yoga. She’s upset that Dan thinks yoga is a good idea, because that means he likes Kate better (8-year-old logic). Why couldn’t she pick the thing for us to do that would be relaxing?
“Well,” I said, “what do you think we can do that would be relaxing?”
“What about a board game?”
I considered this. “I’m not sure a board game right before bedtime is a good idea,” I said. “What if we get excited about winning or upset about losing? That doesn’t sound relaxing. I think a board game after dinner on Friday or Saturday is a good idea, though!”
Flora thought some more. “Reading?”
“I find reading relaxing,” I said. “I would like us to all read together. Maybe we can pick a good chapter book to start reading. I’ll read out loud to you and Kate.”
“I would like to keep doing yoga,” I said. “So how about one night, we’ll read together, and the other night we’ll do yoga. If you don’t want to do yoga, then maybe you can just sit and watch, or take deep breaths, or read a book on your own.”
So, we’ll see how this goes.
Dan doesn’t think reading is relaxing. He doesn’t understand my attachment to it, and he doesn’t understand Flora’s attachment to it. And I don’t know how to explain it to him.
What we find relaxing is subjective, I suppose. Reading totally unplugs me from the day. I need that at the end of the night. I think I’m going to find doing yoga with Kate relaxing, too. I do need my hip to start cooperating though, but that’s a different story.
I will have to keep an eye on how much Flora reads once she’s in bed. She likes to read until she falls asleep. I haven’t discouraged that.
We were very lax about bedtime this summer. I tried to institute the “no downstairs after 9 p.m.” to no avail. But this routine is something I have to stick with. My girls are learning bad habits; they are certainly teaching M bad habits. It’s all got to be nipped in the bud.
I am hoping that as night falls earlier, and we get into a relaxation routine, and bedtime becomes a time for quiet and peace, it will be easier for my children to go to sleep.
I’m hoping by October, the relaxing is ingrained enough that we won’t need constant reminding.
Again, we’ll see.
Are you making any major changes to routines as we head into the school year?