If you're looking for quality parenting advice - don't look at me.
I'm perfectly comfortable admitting that I have - and will continue to - make numerous mistakes in raising my kids....as is painfully evidenced by their unacceptably bad behavior in these waning days of summer. Forget "Nanny 911" - get me Gitmo!
However, there is one area of child rearing where I excel. An issue which has vexed parents for decades, but seems to have reached critical mass in the past 20 years. It's a problem that has parents these days pleading and paying experts for a solution.
It's the whole getting-the-kids-to-sleep thing, and amazingly, it's never been a problem in my house.
Granted, sleep, or more specifically the lack of it, is a rite of passage for new parents. But all too often it can turn into a behavioral issue that can consume the entire household. A recent study reported here on MSNBC found that "children’s bedtime problems may not only make parents lose sleep, but could also take a toll on their physical and emotional well-being." Duh.
Sleep is serious business. As this Virginia Daily Press article points out, "many doctors now believe sleep deprivation directly interferes with blood circulation, immune system strength, muscle repair, memory and the release of hormones that regulate appetite and growth."
I'm not exactly certain what my secret is to getting my babies-turned toddlers-turned children to beg for bedtime...dropping off as soon as the last word of "Goodnight Moon," or "Sweet Dream Pie" is read. But I think it has something to do with exhaustion - both mine and theirs.
Both my kids are busy and active types - so I keep them busy and active: hours upon hours at playgrounds, regular walks to the library, hikes, picnics, a lot of outdoor stuff. I never had to go through that "let 'em cry" business with my daughter when she was a baby. And my infant son cried for about 7-minutes before "realizing" he was wasting some really good snoozing time.
Both of them napped regularly and without a fuss until they entered Kindergarten, so it's not like I was depriving them of their needed zzz's in order to get them to sleep at night.
My theory is that because we were (and still are) always on the move, or active in some other respect, bedtime is a welcome break. My daughter even asks to go to bed early if she's had a big day. And they both sleep, soundly, for 10+ hours per night.
However, according to my husband, there's another key element to my sleeping success: it's that I'm sooo freakin' tired from my active days with the kids, that I have zero-tolerance for any bedtime shenanigans from anybody!
Sure, I'll read two books, put some music on and talk a bit about the day with my kids. But when that light goes off - that's the end of it. And they know it...if they haven't already fallen asleep.
Thus, the Seinfeld-ian name my husband has bestowed on me: the Sleep Nazi. "No more books for you. Bed!"
Good night and good luck. Now, does anybody have the secret to sibling bickering and pre-teen insolence?
How have you dealt with the sleep issue? Share your thoughts and ideas by clicking below on "Comments" and telling us your story.