A couple of weeks ago, I was complaining to my friends about being tired because the girls didn’t go to sleep until around 11. One of my friends piped up and sternly told me that I have GOT to get the girls to go to bed earlier.
“How?!” I ask, tired and bewildered.
She essentially says “Tell them to go to bed.”
It made sense. With our old routine, they didn’t know when to go to bed or how to fall asleep when they should.
The next evening, Operation GO TO BED officially began.
Now, my girls have always been pretty good sleepers. They pretty much slept through the night after two months. Kyle spent his fair share of nights on the couch with a baby in the swing when they were sick or teething, but generally, they were good. The problem was that we never established a good evening routine so they would just wallow around in the living room until they would fall asleep and then we’d carry them to their cribs. Honestly, I really liked the evening cuddle-time so I didn’t want to change anything.
But the girls were cranky in the morning because they were tired. And I know sleep helps their bodies and minds grow. Plus Kyle and I were losing out on hours of time with just each other.
So, it was time for a change. A big change.
Before Operation GO TO BED, we’d finish supper around 6:45, bathe the girls and then head to the living room to play and watch TV. I’d lay out a big quilt on the floor and make three pallets (Ella, me, Emma.) Eventually they’d come crash on either side of me and would fall asleep after some time…usually by 10, but sometimes it wouldn’t be until after 11.
After Operation GO TO BED, the girls are in bed and asleep by 8:30.
8:30 people. That’s a big difference!
The girls are overall much happier, they aren’t as cranky in the morning, Kyle and I have time to actually talk in the evenings, and we can get to bed at a decent time.
Here’s what we do now.
We still finish supper around 6:45, bathe the girls and then head into the living room. We play for a while or watch TV. But at 8/8:15 the lights go out and we sit on the couch or cuddle on the floor. We turn the bee show on (it’s a channel on Amazon Fire with soothing music and bees buzzing around in a meadow. It’s calming) and then I slowly and quietly read Goodnight Moon. After I read it the first time, I ask them if they want me to read it again (always yes hehe) and I read it again even softer and slower. After I say “The end,” I say “OK girls, it’s time to go to bed.”
They stand up, grab their bunnies and walk to their beds. Along the way we tell Bubbles the fish, Penny the dachshund, and Daddy goodnight. No screaming. No crying. No fits.
They stand by their beds until I lift them up. They give me a hug and a kiss, I lay them down and turn on their seahorses.Then they both say “Nightnight sista.”
I turn the lamp off and as I’m shutting the door I say “Good night girls, I love you. Have a good night and I’ll see you in the morning, OK?” and I hear two little “OKs.”
For a few minutes, I can hear them jibberjabbering back and forth and their cribs squeaking as they roll over to get comfortable. Then they are out.
It took two days of “training” to get to this point. Day 1 they cried for 20 minutes. Day 2 it was less than 10. Day 3, they walked themselves in there.
I am still amazed at them. Every day they learn something new. Each day their individual personalities continue to blossom and their bond with each other grows. Kyle and I are SO lucky to have these amazing little girls in our lives.