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Think it's time for a change

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I am one of those parents that has always believed in bedtimes for children. Perhaps because I have always struggled with normal sleeping patterns. I am an insomniac and have been as long as I can recall. My mother says as an infant I slept all the time, it was like not having a baby. She recalls that I would get up in the morning and eat, play for 30 minutes and go back to sleep, this routine followed throughout the day, and evening. I was on a schedule like that until I was around three. Then, I "woke up". I haven't slept like a normal person since then, not that sleeping that much was normal. As a teen, during my high school years I remember days on end when I would not sleep. If and when I did, it would be afternoon naps after school. Two hours in the afternoon and I would be up for days. I experience night terrors or such vivid dreams that I remember upon waking, that I do not feel rested in the morning.

This summer has been the first time as a parent that I have been so relaxed with my children and their bed times. I am unrecognizable as me. We have not required them to go to bed at any hour, never mind a reasonable one. My daughter Kenna is 17 and she is the only one who continues her routine. It is rare when she is up past 9:30 p.m. The boys are a different story all together. My step-son Michael, 11, and Kooper, 10, both went to visit my husband's parents the Monday following school letting out for the summer. They were gone for just over three weeks. During their vacation, Kamden (my baby), 7, and I spent many a sleepless night up together. He like me, slept his infancy away and had an "awakening" around 2. He is my little ADHD ball of fire and I enjoyed him so much I did not fuss with bedtimes and the like. The older boys returned and it was Kamden's turn to go spend his time with Gramma and Grampa.

Koop and Michael were on Gramma and Grampa's sleep schedule when they got home, which is wee hours of the morning to bed, and around noon to rise. Once Kamden returned, along with the bad habits he picked up from me, his schedule was the same as both of his big brothers. So you see my dilemma. What to do, what to do?

School resumes in two and a half weeks. Time to undo the damage. Back to schedules. I will make bed times earlier and earlier until we get back to some resemblance of normalcy.

My husband and I believe bed times for children are also a key to a happy marriage. Children of course need the sleep and the structure, but parents need the adult time too. We enjoy having adult conversations, watching our favorite television shows together and just simply cuddling without constant chatter and pitter patter of little feet. It's a good tip...always make time for one-on-one time with the spouse!

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