Bedtime Power Struggle

J and I have been dealing with bronchitis for the past 3 weeks (it just won’t go away!), but at least L has been healthy.  My parents even took L for the first weekend that we were really sick so that J and I could rest and get back to a minimally functional state.  Unfortunately, since that weekend, we have been having a fight with L and every bedtime.

As anyone with a toddler knows, this is the time that they are pushing their boundaries, testing the rules, and generally checking to see who is really the boss.  It is such a fun time to be a parent!  (insert heavy sarcasm here)  Normally we put L to bed at about 8 pm and he wakes up at 6:30 am to go to daycare.  That gives him 10.5 hours of sleep of the 12-13 that is recommended by the APA.  If he takes a nap, usually 1.5-2.5 hours, we hit that recommendation and we are all in a better mood for it.  Lately, L has not been napping most days and the bedtime issues have kept him awake until after 9 pm.  Tired toddler + tired and frustrated Mommy = household in chaos

Earlier this week, we decided that it was finally time to use some tough love on L and end the power struggle of bedtime.  So we did the normal bedtime routine, he didn’t want to snuggle with me so I left the room, and J put him to bed, told him a couple of stories, and then said “Goodnight” and left the room.  L cried for over an hour off and on that first night (Monday).  J finally had to go back in there because he was not stopping and I did not want him to make himself sick.  After getting snuggles from Daddy, he settled right down.  Tuesday night we did the same routine and L cried for half an hour.  Wednesday night he did not cry at all!  Thursday night he cried for 10 minutes, and last night he cried for 10 minutes again.  We are making progress!!

I have to put in a disclaimer.  My son does not cry for an hour straight ever.  In this instance, he would cry for 20-30 seconds and then stop and listen to see if anyone was coming to comfort him.  It was very clear that this was an attention seeking behavior, not a real cry.  He has Olympic level skills in stubbornness (courtesy of his Mother I am guessing) and he wins far more often than I would like to admit.  But bedtime is something that I am firm on.  Not only does he need the sleep to keep from being a monster, so do I!

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