One of the biggest struggles reported by parents is BEDTIME. Families dealing with children who won't stay in their beds, who have tantrums, and take forever to fall asleep (just to mention a few). Unfortunately, bedtime becomes Battle-time.
Here's the thing, the issue is that we are not seeing the big picture. The battle can be won (without any casualties) if we are intentional about bedtime. There are so many variables to consider...some of which we have a lot to say about and some we do not. Those that we have a lot to say about begin with us (the parents, the mature ones, the ones whose job it is to keep everyone safe and healthy and the ones who ultimately are supposed to make good choices for our family) - no pressure!
Parents: The first thing we need to do is get our stuff out of the way before anything else will work. The second thing we have the most control over is really knowing our whole child and really knowing what bedtime means to him/her. With these two steps in place, we can handle anything.
We can make sure we stick with our routine no matter what. We can make sure our children get to sleep early enough that they don't get too tired and have to deal with the implications of the release of Cortisol when they are over tired. We can understand that the dark can bring up feelings of abandonment and therefore trigger our children. Anxiety can be decreased by being emotionally plugged into our children during our bedtime routine so they don't have to draw us in with behavior. Finally, we can meet our children right where THEY are at - not get caught up in what other families are doing at bedtime, what our parents did, or even what we thought we would do.
Be INTENTIONAL. Slow down, think outside the box, move your old expectations and do what is best for your child, even if it is totally different than anyone else you know. In our crazy and chaotic world, bedtime really gives us a very rare opportunity to send strong nurturing messages to our children - you are valuable, you are loved no matter what, and your needs are important. Wow! The scene just went from battleground to Peaceful Kingdom. Who lives in a Peaceful Kingdom? A strong, healthy, connected family!