Wednesday, January 18, 2012

To Sleep... Perchance to Dream

From sunrise to sunset,
the little one has her own rhythm too.
In fact, if there ever was something
I knew for sure it is this:
Little ones thrive on a daily rhythm.

We used to call it a 'schedule'
back in the day.
Is your son/daughter on a schedule?
we would ask each other.
One mom to another.
Of course he/she was.
They all were.

As long as I have been a mother
which is 29 years today,
(Happy Birth Day Jen!)
I have instinctively known that
my children thrive on a schedule.

It takes all of the unknown away from them.
Removes doubt.
Provides security.
Gives them a sense of control

We had no sleeping problems with our kids back then.
All the kids went to bed early
and got up at the same time.
We parents had the evenings to ourselves.
To nurture relationships or to
do whatever we wanted.

And yet... in all my wisdom
(she says tongue in cheek)
I sometimes forget this.

The whole month of December was a bust for Athena.
She stayed up late.
Had trouble falling asleep.
She woke up during the night.
She had a few bad dreams.
In short, it was ridiculous.
I could hardly get her out of bed in the mornings
and I could hardly get out of be myself some days.

After the holidays I determined to change it all.
I was on a mission.
It didn't take long until we were back on the right track.

This is what we did.
First of all, I took the time
to establish her bedtime routine.
Then some ground rules.
No screens after dinner.
None at all.
No TV.
No computer.
No DS.

Shortly after the evening meal I would run her bath.
Sometimes a milk bath, if the milk was about to expire.
Sometimes an Epsom salt bath.
Mostly just a bath with food coloring in it.
Before she got in I'd give her
a tablespoon of liquid

After brushing teeth and having a glass of water
I would read to her from whatever novel we were on.
Right now it is Little House in the Big Woods
by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
She would then be in bed by 8pm where she could
draw or read until 8:20.

I would come back in her room at 8:20
put on her music,
(again, You are My Little Bird by Elizabeth Mitchell)
and, now this is big,
give her a back massage.
The girl loves massage.

These simple, soothing steps
have made a world of difference.
She is asleep by 8:45pm
every single night.
She sleeps soundly all night through.
I open her door each morning at 7:30am
so she can awaken with the light from the kitchen
and the sound of Mom and Dad talking.

She awakens with a smile and the whole day
is better for this renewed sleep/wake schedule.
And Mommy is much happier
when she sleeps through the night too.

Schedule, routine, rhythm.
Like the ticking of a clock.
From sunrise to sunset.
And on it goes...

(all pictures google images)


Tara said...

Following the natural rhythms of the day is important here too. Owen usually is in his room by the same time every night with books or something quiet to build but nothing too overstimulating like t.v., gaming, etc.

Your winter photographs are lovely!

dawn said...

This is something that I too know is right, yet sometimes fall away from, creating unecessary problems. Athena's nightime routine sounds so peaceful. I like the idea of no screens for kids after dinner....