At the same time, I shifted her from crib to toddler bed (a matching set for the girls). When two children share a room, the magical boundaries of the big kid bed that I wrote about last week cease to exist. Sharing a room becomes and exploitative journey for children who previously thought bed time actually meant going to sleep.
However, mine never did so quietly. They did so very loudly. Right above the room in which their papa and I were trying to relax and converse. We tried many tactics over the next couple of years to get them to go to bed and stay in bed and just-go-to-sleep-would-you?!!
- Putting them to bed 30-minutes apart... didn't work. My younger daughter would endlessly pop out telling us she was scared to be alone (baloney).
- Threats of no screen time the following day (or days, depending on how many times I had to come back and tell them to be quiet)... sometimes worked.
-Yelling at them insanely... usually worked because they cried themselves to sleep, but the mommy guilt wasn't worth it and I eventually stopped shouting (mostly) at them day or night.
-Other various threats... sometimes worked, especially their loveys. Not nice. I know. I was desperate.
-Positive rewards; i.e.Getting to stay up late on Fridays, earning good behavior points redeemable for toys/screen time/whatever. Sometimes worked:
Once when my older daughter (then nearly 6) wanted to get her ears pierced she bargained with me for 7 nights of peace at bedtime - she would go to bed and stay quiet until morning (ignoring her sister when asked to play) and if I had to go back in her 7-nights started all over. I accepted her offer! She got her ears pierced 10 days later.
Now, after 3 years, I have easy, breezy bedtimes again. This is, in part, to the kids spending 3-weeks at Grandmas. She would say, "Go get ready for bed," and they would. Then she's tell them to get in bed and they would. Then she'd tell them to go to sleep... and they would. All in 20-minutes or less. I'd been spending an average of 30-minutes per kid. Grandmas are awesome!!!
The other, even more vital part, is that they now each have their own rooms again. They are small, but they are their own. And the girls are older (and well-trained by my miracle mother) and I can simply say, "Go get ready for bed; take your brother and help him, too." And they do. Then they all get to come back downstairs for a few minutes. The Boy gets a 5-minute cuddle with Papa and the girls can engage in a quiet activity, usually drawing or writing, for 15 to 30 minutes.
I put The Boy to bed, we argue for a few minutes about his light (Him: I want it higher! Me: No, you need it dark so that you and Thomas can get your rest. him: Nooooooooooooooooooo, I want it higher. Me: it's like this or it's off. him: Nooooooooooo. Me: There, then (I turn off the light). Him: Turn on the liiiiight! Me: Lay down, be quiet. Him: OK. Me: (I turn on the light very low) Sleep well. I love you. Him: I love you, too.)
I send the girls to their rooms, come up a few minutes later and sing them each their song, give them kisses, maybe have a brief conversation and then I am finished. It is brilliant. I get to relax and enjoy my husband and a glass of wine, a quiet dinner and enjoy peace at last. 90% of the time.