My youngest two children both became very attached to their blankets as babies. Their blankets came everywhere with us. We didn’t dare try to go anywhere without them. Their Blankets had Magical Powers. They could stop tears in 2.0 seconds flat. If something upset one of them, all we had to do was call on the mysterious power of the “Blankie” and suddenly everything was all better. No more tears, no tantrum, just peace. But the BEST power from the Blanket came at night…..When bedtime came around, it was a simple matter of laying them down, saying “night, night”, giving them their blankets, and leaving the room……
Oh, How I Miss Those Days!!
My ten year old has outgrown his “blankie”. It is stored away with the rest of his baby things. He has moved on to his stuffed animals, but they hold no magical powers.
My 7 year old, ( soon to be 8 ), still sleeps with her blanket at night, but its magical powers have long since worn off. Bedtime is no longer a simple routine of turning out the light.
There are always forgotten kisses, last minute drinks, trips to the bathrooms, questions they forgot to ask earlier…. the list goes on.
Once they get settled into bed, it is another matter altogether keeping them quiet. They have a tendency to lay in bed and play instead of going to sleep.
I have started a routine with them that I try to stick to every night which as helped.
I read a couple of chapters every night from a story of my choosing. I try to find long chapter books they typically wouldn’t read on their own. First, I make sure they both get a drink of water, have gone to the bathroom, and have any stuffed animals or blankets they need with them, before even beginning to read. Once I’ve finished, it’s lights out and no getting up…. no exceptions.
I learned a lot from my oldest two, now 15 and 13, when they were this age. After many, many, sleepless nights, and bedtime battles, I learned they will not die of dehydration overnight. Nor will they die of starvation if they suddenly realize they didn’t get a bed time snack. I learned a few tears shed tonight will not shatter their heart….only mine. I learned that one more story, or one more song, turns into 5 more, then 10. I learned that as much as I love getting their sweet little kisses, one big kiss and a hug will suffice until the morning.
And most importantly, I learned that enforcing these rules now, will help them gain the self discipline to go to bed on their own when they are older. I learned that establishing a good bedtime routine is in itself a kind of “security blanket”.
And I have learned that if I BREAK these rules……………. I’ll have some VERY Cranky-ass children on my hands the next morning :-).