We have had some maddening evenings here, dealing with bedtime issues. It’s frustrating on just about every level — I hate feeling so annoyed with my own kid, I hate thinking about how frustrated he must feel, and I hate the anticipation of a rough evening every day.
We’ve always done early bedtimes in our house — in general, we’re an early-to-bed, early-to-rise family. Plus an early bedtime allows Philip and I to enjoy some peace every evening.
But lately, I’ve had to work from home in the evening, so the early bedtime has become not just nice, but important. Unfortunately, it’s also about this time that Jack has decided he needs way less sleep.
An easy solution is to cut out his daily nap, and I’ve done that on weekends, and it helps. Sometimes it means an early-evening meltdown from being overtired, but other times everything is fine, and then bedtime is easy, too.
But he’s in daycare some days, and naptime there is mandatory. On those days, he isn’t tired at all at bedtime, which is 7:30. But I have to log into work, so I try to put him to bed then, anyway.
And then I end up spending the next hour to two hours repeatedly putting him back in bed. He’s not being bad, he’s just not tired. And at 3.5, he’s just not quite capable of being less impulsive, so he keeps getting out of bed, over and over.
I realize that the more frustrated I get, the more the whole thing escalates, and the more wound up he gets, and then it just sort of turns into the evening from hell.
I hate that. It’s unfair to ask him to go to bed when he’s not tired — it just sets him up to fail, you know? At the same time, I need that time to finish my work for the day — work I couldn’t finish earlier because I had to leave to pick them up and get them dinner. And Viv still goes to bed at 7 sharp.
Daycare has said they will wake him up by 1:30 every day, so he wouldn’t nap more than an hour and a half there. They did that yesterday, but he was still up until past 8:30, and then for the day at 5:45. That’s just not enough sleep for a little guy.
It’s tough to figure out. I don’t want to park him in front of the TV so I can work — that’s just unacceptable to me. And I wish I didn’t have to worry so much about work in the evenings, but I do. I’m lucky I can do some of it from home, though it presents a lot of challenges, and in general, I feel like I am sucking at everything right now.
So, the plan for now is to try skipping some naps on the days he’s home, and seeing if that helps. I have to get Philip on board with it, though, since he’s home with the kids a day or two during the week. And it will be just as tough for him to give up that quiet time.
And then the other part of the plan is to let Jack color or do puzzles, which he’s obsessed with, after bathtime while I work on the computer. It’s not ideal, but it’s quiet and he can wind down a bit, and I can hopefully get some work done. Am I fooling myself by thinking this is “quality” time together, too, if I have my nose in a work computer?
I guess it’s better than us feeling frustrated with one another about a bedtime battle.
And then trying to do bedtime at 8, instead. We’ll see.
Jack’s a really good boy, a sweet kid who is generally really well-behaved. I don’t want to turn this part of our day into a battleground. Not if we don’t have to.
So, wish us luck, and advice!