Sunday, March 6, 2011

Tick, tick, tick, tick ...

I hope this doesn't make me sound like a drill Sargent, but I have added a kitchen timer to our bedtime routine. It just started last week - and we are still working on the process - but I think I am seeing positive improvements. (Wishful thinking? Maybe).

Here is my rationale:
1. Ellen doesn't understand the concept of time. If I say, "You're wasting time messing around when you could be reading books!" she doesn't care/know any better.

2. I would rather the timer be the bad guy than me. (Carrie - does this even make behavioral sense? I really don't know).

My plan was to set the timer as soon as we got upstairs to get ready for bed. I set it for 20 minutes, which should be plenty of time to change a diaper, put on PJs, brush teeth and read books. When the bell goes off, we stop what we are doing, turn out the lights and get in bed.

We shopped for the timer together - Ellen picked it out - and then we decorated it at home with stickers that she picked out. We had a lot of conversation about how we were going to use the timer at bedtime and practiced listening to it.

The 1st night? As you can imagine, NOT a pretty scene. Ells messed around, despite lots of reminders about the timer, and threw a big fat fit when the bell went off. I expected it, though she actually did settle pretty quickly.

The 2nd night was quite a bit better, per Dad's report. We had a previous rule of 2 books before bed, but now we can read as many as we can fit in before the bell. She only likes to read to herself now, so she read about 7 books and was quite pleased with herself. :)

The 3rd night was again not great, which I'll chalk up to a stomach bug. (I promise I'm not a terrible parent - despite 2 episodes of vomit, she had been very cheerful all evening).

She got night #4 off because grandmother was over!

By Sunday night, the bell went off, we finished our "Curious George Goes to the Library" story, and she was off to bed with minimal resistance.

I really do enjoy our bedtime routine, but I enjoy the reading and laughs and cuddles, and not the endless protests. I think this is helping ... we'll see if it stands the test of time.

(Time - get it? Ha. Such a comic!)


Marie Hooker said...

A great idea that we may have to try, too!! Keep me posted on the progress...

Liz Krueger said...

works for emma, haven't tried it for evan yet...let me know how it goes!