A few months ago, I stopped asking my kid to go to bed. It wasn’t working. She got mad, I got frustrated. So I stopped. We’re in transition over here, still, so it’s a good time to get creative and not push too hard on anything that isn’t working. We started “doing 5 minutes.”
It’s super easy and gets the same result without the fight.
Step One: Settle for bed with books or drawing. In bed.
Step Two: At sleeping time, parent announces “time for 5 minutes!”
Step Three: Review rules for 5 minutes
- You do not have to sleep.
- You have to close your eyes.
- You have to be quiet.
- Phone timer will be set for 5 minutes when your eyes are closed and you’re not talking.
- Phone timer will reset if rules are broken and you go back to a new 5 minutes.
- When timer goes off, you can go back to reading and drawing for a while.
Step Four: There’s no step four or repeating because the kid is asleep. Like magic. Without a fight. Every time.
“I have to stop flying, Mommy. I am so tired.”
“Yeah, that’s kind of the point.”
I think Roozle’s special power is getting this 12 year old dog to love and trust her. And to convince me to let her out bed to visit with the dog and show me her picture.
I can’t really say no to superheroes. Or to Roozle. Because powers.
“Mommy, why did you come back after you tucked me in?”
“The wind is too loud out there tonight. Can I stay in here for a bit?”
“Yes! I can read to you!”
When you have all the ideas to draw and all the books to read, you need to sleep with the light on. It started with coloring what we drew, then she drew what she wanted. Sometimes she still asks us to draw something first, though. Because after a long day of being five, it’s sometimes hard to decide what to draw.
Our routine has adjusted with her. Now that she can read, there’s a lot of reading. Now that she’s way into meditation, there’s some of that too. But still, mostly, she draws. She draws when she falls asleep, she draws when she first wakes up. She draws in the car and at school and during dinner and while she is doing all the things. Goodnight, Roozle.
Sometimes when she can’t sleep, she asks me to come in her room to read for a bit. This is after story time, after chatting about the day (or asking questions about evolution like she did tonight when I set her up for drawing), it’s when she should be asleep or on her way. I bring my kindle or the library book I’m reading and sit on her bed to “read in my head” as she likes to call it while she draws. She just doesn’t want to be by herself. I totally get it.
Tonight, as I started Mary Oliver’s A Thousand Mornings, I realized she would like the poems. They are short and beautiful and perfect to hear while drawing pictures of rainbows and hearts, like she was working on tonight.
So I read to her. I read a poem about writing and she interrupted to remind me that I am a writer like the author. I read a poem about a bird and we learned what a privet is. I read a poem about breaking the rules. She didn’t agree with that one at all. Roozle loves rules.
It didn’t help her fall asleep, but we don’t really care. Poetry is always worth it.