Over the past several weeks we've really made a concentrated effort to establish a better bedtime routine. Things are already pretty routine around here, but when it comes to sleep, we had a lot of ground to make up. We found ourselves either walking Noweo to sleep around the neighborhood in our Ergo, or driving her around and wasting precious gas. Sometimes we wouldn't get her to sleep until 9 or 9:30, and by that time, I was too tired to do anything. She's been in our bed with us ever since she was born, and she ain't gettin' any smaller, so achy mornings were a common occurence. We were losing our nights to our baby, and something had to change. We had to try to let her be independent and put herself to sleep.
We started by making sure she napped by 11am. As long as she woke up by 1, she would be tired enough to sleep at 7:30. At 7:15 we read scriptures and pray together as a family. Then we have some cuddle time and leave the room. We decided Noweo could stay in our bed for now while we taught her to sleep on her own.
Oh the agony of the first few nights. She screamed and screamed and screamed, and after a while, she got herself to sleep. I was so proud of her the first time she did it, and each night got a little easier, and then it got MUCH, MUCH worse. I haven't heard of that happening to anyone else.
So we ended up compromising, and it's a compromise I can live with. After our little bedtime cuddle, Keola leaves the room and I jump on the computer and let Noweo put herself to sleep. I keep the lighting low so it doesn't distract her and so far it's worked really well. Sometimes she runs around the bed berserk for 15 minutes, but she settles down eventually. I'm able to work while she's given the opportunity to be a little more independent without losing Mom cold turkey. Win-win.
Fast forward a couple weeks. A deal pops up on craigslist for a toddler bed for $45 including the mattress. Every parent in the market for a toddler bed knows this is a steal so we jump on it. I gotta say, the bed is a little small....or Noweo's a little monstrous. She seems too big for it, so whenever we get our own place, we'll probably put her in a twin. For now, we're happy with having Noweo in her own bed and out of ours (most nights). Sometimes she falls asleep on our bed, other times she falls asleep on her bed. We kinda leave it up to her, but we make sure she ends up in her own bed regardless. Early in the morning she'll crawl into our bed, and we're all too happy to welcome her after several solid hours of sleep without getting kicked in the face.
Overall, we're pretty happy with the results we've achieved so far. Keola and I can actually watch a movie without me falling asleep before the end. We're getting better sleep and Noweo's growing up a little more. Of all the challenges of parenthood we've encountered so far, bedtime has been by far the most stressful and hard to figure out. Of course, eventually we want Noweo in her own room in her own bed every night, but until we actually have another room for her, we've finally found a bedtime we can all be content with.
Have you experienced any bedtime obstacles with your kids? How did you conquer them?