Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Super Nanny to the Rescue

So Bedtime has been a struggle in the Burns' household as of late. Both girls are eager to get their jammies on, brush teeth and read books. But once it is time to actually hit the hay and turn out the lights - all hell breaks loose! They want one more kiss and a hug, to use the potty one more time, and get a drink of water. It's too dark in their room and whatever dolly they went to bed with is all of a sudden not the right one. Molly's pillow is too scratchy, Megan's is too cold and their blankies need to be re-tucked in just right! The list goes on. Matt and I wizened up to their tricks, and got proactive. We let them pick out their dolly, special potty trips right before we tuck them in, sippy cups with water on their bedside tables, installed a new night light and let them pick out their pillow cases. Once Megan realized the gig was up, she succumbed and started going right to sleep. But Molly on the other hand, got ugly. With no more excuses to get out of bed, she resorted to just crying. And crying. And crying. I mean we are talking going on and on for 45 minutes to an hour after we have put her to bed! Sometimes to the point of making herself throw up!

We tried the "going in there and reassuring her every 10 minutes" route, we tried the "tough love, ignore her" route, we tried the "lay down with her for 5 minutes" route too - but that just held off the inevitable and made it even worse! Since the girls share a room, I was getting pretty ticked that Molly was invading Megan's sleep. Especially since Megan was being so good and quiet and trying to go to sleep! It got to the point that almost every night ended with me losing my cool, raising my voice and threatening a spanking. Molly would eventually wear herself out and fall asleep with a runny nose, puffy eyes and a sad, sad disposition.

Matt and I would go back and forth about what to try next so that we wouldn't have another night like this. I mean, it's ridiculous. Our house is SO SMALL! When we go out in the living room and she is in bed - we are literally only about 20 feet away from her. And I knew she was tired because sometimes she would even yawn through her crying. I wondered if it was because of the new baby. Was this her way of getting our attention? So I started making sure to give her more positive attention, more one on one when I could. I would pick her up more, hold her more, talk to her face to face. But bedtime wasn't getting any better.

I was at my wits end. So one day I decided to have the girls make "Happy Bedtime Charts." I took a big piece of poster board, cut it in half and drew a makeshift calendar of 4 weeks on each one. At the end of each week I wrote in a small toy prize. I let the girls color and decorate their own charts with markers and glitter glue. Then we went to Michael's and I let them pick out their own stickers. I explained to them that for every night that they went to bed happy - with no crying or whining or getting out of bed - the next morning they could have a sticker to put on their charts. When they had gotten 7 stickers in a row, they earned a prize!

You can just call me Super Nanny because IT'S WORKED LIKE A FREAKIN' CHARM!!!

That very night Molly went to sleep with NO tears! And we are going on two weeks of successful, happy bedtimes! I took the girls to the dollar store and let them pick out their prizes. Megan picked a tiara and earring set and Molly picked a Dr's kit for her dollies complete with sticker "band-aids!" I am so proud of my happy sleepers. I'm crossing my fingers they never outgrow the satisfaction that a measly sticker brings!

6 comments:

Joanna said...

You would be a fantastic teacher. It's all about diagnosing the problem and initiating the kids to be part of the solution. That was very proactive and I hadn't thought of using it in a family situation before.

Anderson said...

I'm totally stealing this idea in 2 years!! God bless the Dollar Store! I love you Burns Family!!

LauraC said...

That is awesome! I'm filing this one away for the inevitable bedtime battle that will occur here at some point.

Libby said...

Good thinking! My Mom and I always laugh about Gymboree being geniuses because at the end of the play class, the last activity is that all the kids line up at the door for a rubber stamp of Gymbo the clown on their hand. Who would have thought the kids would get so excited about it, but it gets them promptly right out the door with no tears or just-one-more-minute-moms! (And Alex talks about it all day if he gets a Gymbo stamp somewhere other than the back of his hand... like his tummy!)

britty said...

Erin, i mean "Super Nanny" i love the charts! i'm so glad i have a friend like you, trying things out and sharing with the rest of us. bravo!

LACY said...

Way to go!

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