What can I say. It’s starting to wear me out. Or, not starting, it has worn me out for quite some time. The nights have become a situation where my fears have taken control, and my reasoning has lost the battle. I look at every bedtime moment with distress, and I think of it constantly before I begin the routines of putting my youngest son to bed. He fears the monsters under the bed, I fear the monster on top of it. Sorry to call him a monster, because he isn’t, but I start to sweat only from the thought of getting him into bed. I have my children every second week, and I can’t wait to have them with me. But I fear the evenings with my youngest.
What I believe is “normal” for a 7-year-old:
- Prepare for bed by starting the evening meal.
- Have some argument on ending activities. But the child understands and listens to you in the end
- Eat and drink the evening meal
- Say goodnight to everybody
- Having some struggles getting them to the bathroom, but they listen in the end
- Brushing their teeth
- Climbing into bed
- Reading a book
- Having some discussions about today and tomorrow
- Saying goodnight (if ok go to 13)
- On special days (like christmas evening) having trouble sleeping
- Say goodnight again (if necessary go back to 11)
How far of am I??
What my evenings sometimes look like when I put him to bed:
- Start breathing and prepare (self-awareness)
- Prepare a meal and tell him its food soon
- He ends activity and eats up (quite the angel actually)
- He want’s to continue his activity but I say “no, it’s time for bed”
- He refuses to come and I have to convince him
- After a while he goes himself, or I carry him. Still not the worst part, and I can live with it
- Brushing teeth with dancing moves, jumping on and off the toilet, leaving, coming back, sitting, standing. Me breathing, trying to tell him to stand still while I brush
- He walks on his hands with me holding his feet into the bedroom because it’s the best time of his day. I won’t deny him, because then I would use 20 minutes to get him into other thoughts, and I see the joy in his eyes
- So, the monster on the bed arises. He starts out with some backflips (yes he can do them), and runs back and forward on the bed. Me trying to be calm tells him to put his head on the pillow.
- He stands on his head telling me that he won’t go to sleep
- We try to read a book. He’s become quite the listener, and the only thing suffering is my lap and belly while he jumps up and down while I’m reading.
- So, back to the “head-on-the-pillow” situation. No response, so I leave. He shouts me back (if I don’t come he will start hitting the walls and destroy things)
- So, I sit with him again trying to calm him down. He wants to talk about stuff. He needs answers, I tell him he must wait. We use about 10-20 minutes to agree that he have to wait till tomorrow because he has to sleep.
- Head finally on the pillow, so I go out and say good night. Going up to my other son that’s awaiting my attention.
- I hear shouting from the youngest. He has more questions. Sometimes the gymnast is back, sometime he has questions that he needs answers to. If I don’t go down, he will start to act out. Another 10-20 minutes
- I go up to my eldest son to be with him for the final minutes of his evening
- Step 15-16, again
- Step 15-16, again
- 1-2 hours later I start putting the eldest to sleep. Didn’t even get the time to properly talk to him
- Breath and sit down (self-awareness)
It’s difficult to know if I have given an understandable impression. But basically I use 1-2 hours, or more, to get him to sleep. I have sometimes put him to bed at 8 o’clock, and he has fallen to sleep 11:30 o’clock. If I have made the impression that I’m always able to keep calm, I have misled you. I have moments where my anger takes the best of me and frustration takes over. I yell at him and I leave the room in anger. I try to tell him 1. calmly, 2. firmly, 3. sometimes with anger “GO-TO-BED-AND-GOOD-NIGHT!!” I know that the nights where we use the longest time, is the nights where I have lost my temper, so I have understood that I need to keep calm. It’s the best way in the end. But when will he stop this acting out? Is it something I do wrong? Sometimes it doesn’t matter what the reason is. I just want it to stop and give up.
If anyone has an experience comparable I would like to hear. I need some suggestion here.
Thank you 🙂