Saturday, November 19, 2011

Getting creative with bedtime issues

Every now and then, I come up with a pretty good parenting idea. Today? I am quite proud of my "bedtime activities chart."

You see, we have a bedtime issue.
A classic three-year-old "I don't want to stop playing" issue.
And yes, we - Mom & Dad - are probably to blame.

After a busy day of work, errands, and various tasks, we enjoy the quiet of Amelia's bedroom and the extra time for some giggles. But with every new funny game we play, our precocious little daughter files it away and comes to expect it. Again and again and again each night. At this point, our bedtime routine has about twelve steps and takes forever. We can't even get a nighttime babysitter because her routine is that crazy.

Tonight, we're introducing my new creation. A chart with velcro images. A chart that allows Amelia to make her own bedtime choices. But only two of them. Each night, we will let her dictate what we play. She will select two images (books, animals, Little People, songs, etc.) and stick them to the bright pink squares.

No changing her mind. No asking to do more. She gets to select TWO activities.

I am prepared to face a few tears at first. However, I hold out hope that we can reach a good place. I want to help Amelia assert her independence by leaving the activity selection entirely in her own hands (literally). I want to help manage her expectations by focusing those decisions and consistently sticking with only two per night.

This chart was easy to make. Images from the Internet, self-stick velcro dots, some poster board, and tape. I think it's a pretty sharp idea!

Let's hope it works.
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