I'm kind of a water type parent, by which I mean I tend to work like water following the path of least resistance to slowly grind my children into well-rounded adults. Now water isn't weak, but it does its work a bit slower than other elements. My husband is more a fire parent. He expects results right now and will get them right now. We naturally butt heads often in the how-to-parent department being polar opposites. Our most recent disagreement was bed time. I like to let the kids sit and watch a movie and slowly drift to sleep. I don't really care where they lay down at as long as they go to bed, and I wouldn't say I'm very strict on the when either. He, on the other hand, prefers they sleep where he says, when he says, and without a movie. You lay down, you close your eyes, you go to bed. I fought him at first, but finally gave in recently and was pleasantly surprised.
It was way faster.
I've been struggling with our boys for a good year now. Every night it's a fight to get them to lie down and to do so quietly enough my husband can sleep because he has work in the early AM. Once they finally lay down they watch a bit of movie and eventually fall asleep, but getting them there is a handful. I was surprised to find with my husband's method they fought just like always, but once they actually shut their eyes and lay there, they were asleep within five to ten minutes.
It will take time.
They did wake up more often his way during the night. I'd wager this is because usually there is a movie on. They wake up, watch a few minutes and go back to bed, while without the movie they wake up and scream for me. Both boys also have nightmare issues and the background noise seems to help derail them. We're sticking with music, but until their routine is altered chances are I'll be woken up far more often. You can expect that when making a significant change in your toddler's life.
Parenting methods aren't set in stone.
I admit part of the reason my husband and I fight so much is water follows a set path. I am just as set in our children's routine as they are. Someplace deep down I was afraid to try a new method, as if the inconsistency would cause more trouble. In parenting it's important you realize that if something doesn't work, try something new. The consistency can come later when you find something that works. It's illogical to continue down a path that's leading away from your destination whether you've been walking down it for a few days or a few years.
I'm certainly not saying that my husband's bedtime routine suggestion may work for everyone just because it turns out he was right for once and it worked for us, but that you should remain open to new ideas. Forget what the books and experts say, find a bedtime routine that fits your family and your toddler.
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