It’s wonderfully surprising to me to see my younger two children reaping the benefits of having always been parented gently. I struggled so much with everything with my older two. It’s so obvious to me now why they acted the way they did. One such example is bedtime. It was always such a struggle with the older two.
My 2.5 yr old, Natalie, has always slept with someone. Either in the same bed or in a bassinet/crib right next to my bed. When she was almost 2, she started sleeping in bed with her 9 yr old sister, sometimes the 11 yr old, too.
I’ve always followed Natalie’s cues for when to put her to bed and how to do it. She usually is rocked and sung to sleep but sometimes she snuggles up to us on the couch and falls asleep. Well, the other night, she got her blanket and bottle, got in her bed, and fell asleep. Just like that. She recognized that she was sleepy, so she went to sleep.
I seriously thought that sleep was just always a struggle with kids. But why should it be? If they experience nothing but positivity, love, compassion, comfort, and patience at bedtime, they will never feel the need to protest going to bed. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve lost my temper, I’ve been impatient, I’ve been burnt out and exhausted and even cried along with her. This is the same child who had horrid colic and spent first year of her life fighting sleep with every fiber in her little being! But for the most part, on my end, I’ve created as safe of a feeling surrounding bedtime as possible. And it’s paid off in a big way.
I’m excited to see what other differences I will notice between my older and younger kids due to my parenting choices!