In Her Words
The Bedtime Battle
My daughter is winning
By: Dara Rosenthal
It’s hard to imagine a time when collapsing into bed after a long day wasn’t the best feeling ever- but for my 5-year-old Lily, bedtime is just about the worst thing I could possibly do to her. She even takes “time-outs” and “no dessert for you tonight” better.
Lily’s recent bedtime drama has added an extra hour (at least) to our nighttime routine. She screams that I’m a mean mommy for making her brush her teeth; that I’m a mean mommy for making her wear pajamas; and I’m “NOT A NICE PERSON!” when I dim the lights.
When she’s finally in bed and the screaming has finally subsided to whimpering, I read a story or two in a calming voice. By the time I leave and gently shut the door, the whimpering has become exaggerated sniffling. This is when the bedtime requests start.
My plan? Ignore them after the second time she calls. My husband on the other hand indulges her every whim, making me the bad mommy and daddy her bedtime favorite. The requests range from the reasonable: “I need a drink of water”, “I need a tissue”, “I need to make a sissy”; to the odd: “I have an itch I can’t reach”, “I’m having a nightmare” (you’re not sleeping yet…); to the definitely-not-happening: “I need to call a friend”, “There’s something on TV I need to watch”.
I don’t know what makes her so uneasy with the idea of falling asleep; she used to be a cinch. Whatever it is, I know that my husband needs to stop rushing to her side every time she drops (throws) a stuffed animal on the floor or claims there’s something she forgot to do.
Tell us: Do you have tricks for getting your kids to chill out at bedtime?