Bedtime Battles

The morning scramble has gotten worse lately, and now we have snow to clear off the van and mittens to match up, because clearly we needed more things to slow us down. Friday is a PA Day and this week it is even beating out pizza day as my favourite day of the week!

Part of the problem with our morning routine is squirrels. As I mentioned last week in my post about Time Blindness, we could have fifty years to get ready to leave and we would still be running out the door on day 365 of that fiftieth year.

The other problem is that we tend to be night owls, and the only two who are chipper in the morning are mostly focussing on annoying the rest of us who need a two hour no-talk zone. The kids are up later than they should be. They’re cutting into my secret ice cream eating time. They need to get more rest. Some of that is because extra-curricular activities tend to run late at this age, but a lot of it is because their excuses have more layers to them than an onion. I cry equally when exposed to either one.

Maggie decides bedtime is the perfect time to begin running around and looking for toys. Or she gets all scholarly and suddenly finds books riveting. Grace, “can’t sleep,” and needs, “Comfy Daddy,” or else flat-out pretends she “had no idea” she was supposed to go to bed when we discover her playing Playmobil at midnight. The twins have been bedtime terrors since the day they were born.

Maggie and Grace twins

The evil just leaps off the screen doesn’t it?

Molly insists that she isn’t tired, while stumbling around like a drunken rhinoceros, and promptly falls asleep. The key is to make sure she gets her bedtime jobs done before this state, while also sidestepping the, “I’m fully alert from the bathroom lights and will now read for the next eleven hours,” stage.

We began giving Molly melatonin a few years ago because she could stay up all night, despite all of the usual sleep hygiene techniques. Once she started it she told me that she had never before felt that tired-eye feeling. Now she usually gets tired before she has even taken it, and wakes at an appropriate time.

I know the importance of putting screens away an hour before bedtime (even though I never follow that rule for myself…do as I say children, not as I do…because I said so!), and I try to give a warning to transition the kids off of their iPads or the TV. If I give too long of a warning, they claim to have forgotten 20 minutes later and accidentally started another show. I’d call them liars, but been there, binge-watched that. If the warning is too short, then it is right in the middle of their show and they send in their top negotiator.

Netflix, together with Dreamworks Animation, have solved that problem by creating bite-sized episodes of Dinotrux, called Dinotrux Favorites so that we can say, “Sure kids, you can watch a whole show before getting ready for bed!”

The five minute episode length should give you enough time to get your evil laugh under control before they realize what you’ve done.

This may only work the one time.

But it will be worth it, because the kids still tease me about the time I said they could watch Caillou before bed, and it turned out to be the 90-minute holiday movie. I’ve never hated a bald person more. Well except for the jerk who fired me at the mini-putt because I wouldn’t wear the hip-waders. But I digress. I may never be able to exact revenge on my horrible boss, but it’s payback time for these little bedtime stallers.

Thanks Netflix!

What kind of stall styles do your kids have?

My mother still goes on about how I would stall by asking for a drink of water. So she made a reward chart and when I got a month of gold stars I could go to the zoo. I earned it right away, went to the zoo, and promptly collapsed of dehydration learned my lesson.

Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix StreamTeam which allows me to watch Netflix and legitimately declare that I cannot be disturbed because I am working. This is so much better than golf course hip waders.

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