I hate bedtime.
I also hate naptime.
It’s the one ‘chore’ of the day I dread with a fiery passion, and if my husband is home, I always pass the buck and make him do bedtime/naptime. I’d rather gouge out my eyeballs than force a small child to sleep.
Maybe I should have done the sleep training thing?
But something about letting my children cry didn’t sit well with me. I don’t like it when my husband ignores my bathroom sobs.
As a toddler, we’ve let him have his bouts of tears as he tantrums in a stubborn persistence against sleep. But, that’s toddlerhood and the complex and big emotions that come with not wanting to do what you want is different than the innocent sobs of my six-month-old.
Maybe I should have set up a bedtime routine?
Probably, but routines aren’t my thing. Some people thrive on a strict routine, but I don’t. Things change from day-to-day and week-to-week, and to best live with myself and my children, the strict bedtime routine didn’t jive with me.
Plus, why does everyone insist on bathing children nightly? I’ll pass on the nightly ritual of being waterboarded by a tiny terror in a two-year old’s body.
It’s not to say I have no bedtime routine because in the natural course of life we have our night time rhythm before bed.
Sometimes Todders still don’t sleep.
Where does that leave us? Since I refuse to lock him in his room to cry until he passes out, we leave and try again later.
Try Again LATER.
So, here I am writing this blog post as my tiny toddler runs around making way too much noise for 9:45 pm, and I’m trying to patiently wait him out. Sometimes he just needs to poop. Sometimes he just needs to eat. Sometimes he just needs to burn off energy. Tonight, he needs to do all that.
My best tip for staying sane with toddlers adamant against sleeping: Choose battles
Choosing My Battles.
So, if it’s bedtime, and I’ve gone thru the motions and he’s tucked into bed in his nighttime jammies, nighttime diaper, and had a book read to him, BUT HE STILL WILL NOT SLEEP…
- Check in with me. Am I forcing him to go to sleep because I want him to sleep or because he needs to sleep?
- Check in with him. Does he need something? He doesn’t have many words, so I ask him to show me what he wants. Sometimes he just wants a glass of milk or a snack.
- If I need to sleep, then this co-sleeping family usually resorts to all snuggling up in the big bed.
- If he needs to sleep, I try a few different strategies: his favourite sleepy music, head rubs, more books.
- Sometimes we just take a break and I let him know that this is mommy’s time to be, and he can pay quietly until we try again. Then we go to the main part of the house and I finish up my nightly chores, or work on my computer and he plays with his toys.
- Worst Case Scenario: I let him watch TV until he passes out.
Nights are rough in my house. I choose not to sleep train my children, and for that reason, I face a couple battles. It’s never picture perfect, and 80% of the time he does go to sleep before 7:30 pm. But 20% of the time, I have to remind myself its not worth stressing over.
I’m not going to lie we cuddle to sleep more often than I care to admit. I have absolutely zero ideas on how to get a toddler to sleep without cuddles. And as much as I would like to get him to sleep without cuddles, I actually don’t care because my husband sleeps best with a cuddle, so why not my little boy? One day he’ll get there.
Toddler sleep makes me a cranky crabby mom, and in the worst moments, I just remember its out of my control, and sometimes I just need to step back, re-evaluate the situation, and try differently.
How do you handle Toddler Sleep?
Do you have a perfect sleeping toddler? If so, don’t tell me. Do you have a nightmare worse than mine? How do you work with it?