I have a child whose body clock is all out of whack. He is a night owl and it appears that no amount of running him ragged will change that for the long term. It has taken me a long time to get to the this point and there are still moments when I wish he would just GO TO SLEEP RIGHT NOW.
- Getting angry won’t make a difference. This was probably the one that has taken me the longest to come to terms with. It is only through beginning to work on Acceptance Commitment Therapy that I have begun to be more calm about the situation. Getting angry with Mr 4 won’t make one iota of difference to the situation. It won’t magically change it.
- Have realistic expectations. I used to chastise Mr 4 for getting out of bed and playing with toys in his room. Generally speaking he wasn’t coming out of his room, and me going in there to tell him to get into bed was no doubt prolonging his sleep time. Now, as long as he is in his room, I am happy.
- Where they sleep doesn’t matter. Mr 4 regularly sleeps on his fold out couch on his bed or on his bedroom floor. Last week he fell asleep in one of his toy boxes (don’t worry I moved him that time!). After he finally falls asleep, I am not taking the risk of him waking up again because I moved him. I throw a blanket on him, make sure there are no toys he can hurt himself on and leave him be.
- You don’t have to sleep when they do. This is one of my biggest pet hates, the assumption that I should go to bed early if Mr 4 does. Sleep isn’t the biggest thing that I miss about having a child who sleeps to a regular schedule. I miss having me time, watching a scary movie because I don’t have to worry that he will walk out in the middle of it. Eating the smarties that I had stashed in the pantry. Sometimes it’s the small pleasures that make all of the difference.
- You’re doing a great job. Having a child who doesn’t sleep can absolutely make you feel like you have failed one of the fundamental *rules* of being a parent. Don’t listen to the people who tell you that your child just needs discipline and to be told no. It can feel so isolating when you are sitting up at midnight writing a blog post, wishing that your child will just go to sleep already. Just know that you aren’t alone. You are doing the best you absolutely know how and that’s ok.
Do you have a night owl? Were you a night owl as a child?
Linking up with Jess for IBOT.