“I’m scared of the dark.”
“There are monsters in my closet.”
“I don’t want to sleep alone.”
EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT we go through this same routine with my 5 yr old daughter. We have a pretty solid bedtime routine but some nights there are so many tears that I just want to run out of the house and down to the nearest bar!
We start bedtime a good 10-15 minutes before her actual bedtime because I know it’s going to take FOREVER! Just changing into her pajama’s some nights can take 20 minutes with her silly antics. Then brushing her teeth and going to the bathroom, followed by bedtime stories.
Just this week we’ve added one Bob Book (affiliate link) for her to read to me now that she’s gaining confidence in her reading. This is adding about 20 more minutes to bedtime but it’s SO worth it to see her smile with pride when she finishes a book all by herself. Of course, then she wants ME to read a story to her.
…and we can’t forget snuggle time. As if reading her stories for the past 30 minutes wasn’t “snuggling,” she wants to turn the lights off (and the nightlights on – really not much difference here) and have me “snuggle” her to sleep. Her goal here is to keep me in her room as long as possible and out of her brothers room; whom really misses mommy tucking him in each night. I think she secretly hopes that I’ll fall asleep while we snuggle so she doesn’t have to sleep alone.
If by some miracle she actually does fall asleep, I quickly go tuck my oldest in for bed. He’s usually already fallen asleep but I still go give him a hug and kiss.
On the bad nights, like tonight, we spend 45 minutes trying to get to the snuggle time and then she insists that I lay with her until she falls asleep. I don’t always have the time to stay in her room with her that long; and it’s not fair to her brother. <Insert UGLY 5 year old tears here!> Oh yeah, nights like tonight end up in tears, but first…
“I’m scared of the dark.” Her nightlights are all on and it’s practically daylight in her room!
“There are monsters in my closet.” She’s really not afraid of monsters but she knows how to reach into my mommy heart and that mommy button. Oh, and I just cleaned her closet and we shut her closet door, but that doesn’t help either.
“I don’t want to sleep alone.” Yes, this is the real culprit for the ugly tears! She DOES.NOT want to sleep alone!! She’d rather be in my bed!
Daddy is out with friends. Mommy has work to do. I cannot go to bed and I don’t want you in my bed on a school night. That’s our house rules – school nights you sleep in your bed! Weekends? Holidays? Summer? Vacation? That’s another story!
<Insert about 20 minutes of ugly tears to the story, while I’m sitting in the other room trying not to lose my shit and give in!>
Even big brother tries to help out tonight by fighting off the monsters and trying to console her. <fail>
Finally, I tell her to go to my room and go to bed <in complete darkness with no lights on.>
Guess what? She’s sound asleep!
Oh, and on those good nights when she does fall asleep in her own room – any guesses on where she ends up after midnight? As soon as I go to bed and turn off the lights she ALWAYS wakes up and slips into our bed.
How do I win this battle? I really don’t mind her being in our bed but not ALL.THE.TIME! We only have a queen size bed and she’s not getting any smaller. What works for you in your house? Or do you just throw in the towel and accept that you’ll probably have kids in your bed until they are twenty years old??
Jill S says
We never let ours in. We always took them back to bed. I’m sorry you’re dealing with this, but I would say, get pjs on, brush teeth, and then read the story on the couch. If she’s reading at night, then you only read one, and make it a short one, again, on the couch. Hit the bathroom on the way to bed, then shut the door and RUN!!!!!!! We always keep any ‘secondary visits’ very short, stay at the door, and keep sentences to one or two words and good night and close the door again.
Jill S recently posted..Thoughts on a Thursday: Life around here is never boring
I’m having similar struggles with my own 5-year-old girl. We are expecting baby #2 and it’s as if she feels she is missing out on something if she sleeps in her own room, away from me and the baby-in-the-belly. She also tells me she doesn’t want to be alone, and claims she hears banging noises coming from the bathroom next to her room (she has a great imagination!!). We’re working on it, but right now sleep is a priority for me, even if that means we’re sharing the bed at the moment. I recognize this is just another stage she’s going through and she won’t still be sleeping in our room when she’s 16 ;). Kids grow up really fast and I’m sure there will be a day when I look back and miss all our night-time cuddles!