Have you ever let your child cry it out at bedtime? It’s definitely not for everybody. I tried this once with horrible, heart-breaking results. When my second-born child was the cause of some serious sleep deprivation, I decided to let him cry it out one night, only to find his older brother (by only 17 months!) holding his hand, crying with him, and repeating, “It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay.” Since that very memorable night we’ve had two more kids and tried many different ideas depending on our level of fatigue.
Very often, we do breathing exercises where I slowly talk them through breathing in and out different ways. Like this, “Breathe in feeling thankful, breathe out complaining. Breathe in what you enjoyed today, breathe out what you didn’t like. Breathe in cooperation, breathe out not listening.” I just say whatever comes to mind and its closest opposite, and sometimes the kids will add their own breathing mantras.
|Simple and fun to make with the kids!|
We’ve also made a bedtime routine chart which helped for a long time, and after almost a year, I’m thinking of reinstating it as a refresher. I like when I talk less and they think more. A chart gives them visual information and reading practice, and minimizes me nagging them. I ask them to check in with the chart and make sure they’ve done each item before closing their eyes.
Of course, we wouldn’t be The Aums if we didn’t also chant “aum” before bed sometimes. The kids love this, especially when we chant their names and really emphasize the “aum” part. AUMar….JirAUM…NyAUMi…PalAUMA.
I think the most important thing we do to help bedtime go smoothly is aim to get them tired everyday! This means physical activity and fresh air whenever possible…dancing, chasing, laughing hysterically, playing, playing, playing! Having four little ones is actually like a play date everyday and not as difficult as some would think, considering how much they entertain each other.
This is not to say bedtime is smooth sailing every night. No way! Having four little ones also means having four different ages and stages to deal with and you never know what the night will bring. Some nights we deal with one needing bathroom help, one having nightmares, one crawling into our bed, and one already in our bed, crying for no apparent reason (it’s difficult to come up with apparent reasons in the middle of the freaking night!)
Anyhow, in the following clip, Janis Keyser addresses a real situation from a real mom. This is actually a two-parter because Janis wanted to go deeper into the original question. So come back tomorrow for Part 2 of Crying It Out.
Looking for more on discipline? Watch more footage of my interview with Janis Keyser:
Part 1: It’s A Process
Part 2: Transitions
Part 3: Time-outs
Part 4: Disciplining in Public
Part 6: Crying It Out #2
Part 7: Perfect Parenting Is Not the Goal
Are You A Rock Or Noodle When It Comes To Discipline?