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 A survey I received recently suggests that parents find bedtime to be the most stressful part of the day. The raw facts behind most commercially commissioned surveys – this was from a blinds company – are often weak, and this is no exception. Yet the results chimed with my own experience strongly.

 Mealtimes and waking-up times are no picnic either, along with the times in between, but bedtime does present its own special set of issues, chiefly because getting a kid to sleep is fundamentally out of our control, and parents detest feeling helpless. Which is a disgrace, because that is fundamentally the condition of parents, as it is of children.


I am aware of numerous strategies can follow to make sure a smooth passage in to the arms of Morpheus – though not all of these are realistic. is to make sure the bedroom is used primarily for sleep than for play or work activities – so that the brain recognises the bed as a place of slumber than activity – but this strikes me as being largely unenforceable. What are you going to do, lock up the toys? Unless you can afford a dedicated playroom, it’s not going to happen.


Another idea is to make sure the room is dark, in summer when the daylight can persist long to make the kid think they are being tricked in to going to bed early. Thus it is probably worth investing in lovely blackout curtains or blinds (hence the blinds company sponsorship of the survey). But the tykes still know it’s light outside, and thus balk at nodding off – not an unreasonable attitude, in evolutionary terms.
 To get them in to a process, at regular set times, is another nice strategy. But the actual issue is that most kids don’t require to go to sleep when you tell them to – and short of dosing them up with Calpol (think me when they were more youthful I wasn’t beyond giving it a try), there’s precious small you can do about it. Going in and shouting “Go to sleep!” is not necessarily the most effective solution. I ought to know, I’ve tried times.

The bedtime issue doesn’t only occur for kids. I have slumber issues with my spouse, chiefly because they likes to watch TV/muck about on her computer/read, whereas I am liking to go to sleep, which in my primitive and increasingly post-sexual mind is what a bed is for. They did enter in to an agreement that the TV ought to be switched off at a sure time, but that lasted about as a long as a truce between Russia and Ukraine.


So what is the solution to bedtime stress? As in so lots of issues, I find the answer is to give up. Our youngest, Louise, who is eight, one time received nightly imprecations to switch off the light and get with the sandman, but to no avail. Now they leave her with a book and let her get on with it. Sometimes they will still be at it hours later when they go to bed ourselves, but it doesn’t appear to make any difference to her mood when they wakes up in the morning – it’s dreadful whatever they do.
 The matter of my spouse & myself is not so basically solved. I find regular arguments help – ought to never underestimate the chance of basically grinding somebody down with moans. However, my spouse is probably even more obstinate than I am, so this seldom works.

I’ve come to a solution – of sorts. Nowadays, I find myself snoring & getting up in the night to take a whizz, both of which irritate her consummately. So although this is a battle I am never going to win, at least I get my revenge. Sometimes, in a relatives, that’s as much as you can hope for

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