Wednesday, December 03, 2008

December 3, 2008 Part 2

When the boys were in their cribs and they were not yet able to climb out on their own, we could put them in their cribs, following our bedtime/naptime routine, and they would fall asleep on their own. They would normally have some fun in their cribs first, jumping around, playing and talking to each other but they would eventually settle down and go to sleep on their own. If they woke up during the night, they would go back to sleep on their own. If they woke up too early in the morning, they would normally either fall back to sleep for a little while or just play in their cribs for a little while.

That was then, this is now.

When the boys started climbing out of their cribs, we felt like we tried everything to get them to stay in. We put them back multiple times, we spanked them, we moved them to big boy beds and tried everything all over again and nothing seemed to work. We ended up taking turns sitting in their room (they are sharing a room) until they fell asleep. In retrospect, big mistake. I could just kick myself.

Then, I started singing to them at night because I thought it might help them settle down faster. Well, the dad always takes his laptop with him, when it is his night to sit with them, because he reads or does work while sitting with them. When I told him I thought they settled down faster when I sang to them, he started playing music for them on his laptop. Of course, they really really liked this so I started doing it to. They each got three song requests and then it was time to lie down and be quiet. As you can see, what started out as a mistake just kept growing into an even bigger mistake. Please don't try this at home, unless you want to spend an hour every night and a half hour to an hour at nap time helping your kids fall asleep.

I have been doing a lot of single parenting lately. We have had the perfect storm, with the dad recently in Puerto Rico and now on in-service duty at the hospital, while at the same time participating in a Christmas dinner theater play at our church. I encouraged him to do this when he showed interest but neither of us realized the amount of time it would require and we especially did not know that he would be doing in-service duty at the hospital at the same time.

So, since I have been doing a lot of single parenting lately, I have realized what a chore our night time / nap time routine has become and what a nightmare we have created. I could just kick myself because we had such a great, easy routine for the longest time and slowly but surely we let it slip away...and then turned it into a monster. I am determined to fix this but I don't know quite what to do.

So far, we have stopped the music and that happened pretty quickly and painlessly, so that is a step in the right direction. The next step needs to be getting the boys back to the point where they can fall asleep without us in the room and they will stay in their beds and I really just don't know where to begin with this one. N especially is a bit scared of the dark. We keep a night light on in their room but he still does not like it when the lights are turned out. I think he has become accustomed to having the the brighter light from the laptop screen. Sometimes when I am really tired, I just sit there in the dark with them and pray and rest. He will tell me to turn on my laptop and he is not too happy when I don't.

I am racking my brains for the best way to transition us back out of the room. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Maybe we need some kind of reward system. I have also considered trying to move my chair to just outside the room to their door and seeing how that would work. I have heard of moving the chair closer and closer to the door each night until you are sitting just outside the door but we can do that because there is not enough room. There is kind of a short little hallway when you walk into the boys' room because their closet is just inside their room. The chair is already pretty much as close to the door as it can be and it is probably 5 or 6 feet away, at least. So I don't think the gradual-chair-move approach is going to work for us.

The other thing we have done is we put their boxsprings back under their mattresses and put their rails back on their beds. I was thinking this would help a little, since it is a little harder for them to get in and out of their beds. They have done fine with this so far but then we are still sitting with them until they fall asleep.

So, that's our issue. Any suggestions?


Lauri said...

ugghh.. I have gotten myself into a naptime pickle... I used to be able to lay Livi down & that was that. Now I read to her and she needs me with her to fall asleep... so I end up sneaking away... funny how us smart grown ups get ourselves in these situations.

for your boys.. what about books on tape, let them just lay and bed and listen to tape stories... this may keep them content, you can find them at the library.

how about a new big boy night light for N? or one of those single battery operated Christmas lights for the windows? make a big deal out of it if they stay in bed.

seems like your problem is that if you are not in the room, they won't stay put... our therapist is one for positive reinforcement, so perhaps when they do listen, make an effort you praise them- you could make a picture of a little boy staying in bed and laminate it, show them what you want them to do and when they listen, they get a sticker, tattoo, treat- pour on the praise, hang this in their room.

Good luck

Lauri said...

Livi's positive reinforcement plan is a small photo album filled with cartoon-ish pictures of good behaviors..... she can carry this around for a reminder.

You can draw pictures yourself or google something and print it up.

I can see this working for your boys.... give them each a picture of little boys staying in bed and tell them if they obey they will earn a small treat.. for Livi a M&M, sticker or tattoo is enough, along with the smiles, hugs and praise she gets from me.