When Sophia was younger, I tried very hard to implement a good sleeping plan. She slept from 8pm to 7am everyday without waking up and life was good. But as she got older, she learnt to demand grandpa at bedtime because grandpa will give in to her demands. Her bedtime gradually got pushed later and later and her bedtime routine became one with the lights turned on till she falls asleep and at least half an hour of playing with the ipad before sleeping. For the longest time I was too busy/lazy to do anything about it since she still slept by the halfway decent hour of 10pm. However, recently there were 2 days in a row where she fell asleep at 7 plus, woke up at 8 plus and refused to go back to sleep till well past midnight, resulting in everyone being very very tired.
The one good thing about those few nights is Sophia said her first complete sentence “Mama go inside”. That was when I came out of my bedroom and told her to go to bed. She commanded me back into my own room to sleep so she could go on playing.
THAT is when I decided to put my foot down. The following night, I told grandpa to leave it to me and after he left the room I turned off the light and put her on her bed. When she tried to climb out I carried her but she howled and screamed for grandpa. Eventually grandpa couldn’t take it and came in but I stood ground in her room to ensure that the lights stayed off and rather quickly she drifted off to sleep.
From that night on, I stood guard in her room to ensure that lights are off by 9 plus. Each night she tried a different trick to change the situation. One night she would cry pitifully while saying “dark dark, on, on!” while another night she will cry “mama 出去” ie mama go out. Sometimes, even grandpa tries to ask for the lights to go on. That was one night when she was so tired she looked like she was all ready to drift off to sleep even while the lights were on, but I told him that it is not about dealing with each night as it comes but establishing a good bedtime routine that will make things easy for us in the long run.
The struggle is still ongoing. At the moment she would still cry and complain when the lights go off and I have been able to be with her at bedtime to enforce the rule. I’m looking forward to the day where she will no longer complain but just go to sleep when the lights go off.
I was never going to write about this on the blog until I read Jean’s post about saying no. This is not quite saying no but it is about the not so glamorous not so feel-good part of parenting. Bringing up a child is not a bed of roses, but we as parents should have the courage to do the right thing and not take the easy way out all the time. Jean’s post was encouraging to me and I hope my post will encourage some parent out there to do the right thing for their child as well, even if as seemingly small a thing as ensuring that the child gets adequate sleep and rest, which is often neglected but actually a very important component of a child’s growth and development.