Read the pilot post/explanation here

Read the pilot post here

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What?! Your kids don't stay in bed!?

When my two oldest were still in diapers and cribs, I visited my sister Kamie. Often. But not often enough, in hindsight.. With no kids in school yet, I could throw some provisions in a couple Walmart bags, drive an hour to Kamie's house and stay for days! Aaahhh. I had no concept of how fleeting that kind of freedom would be. 8 years gone. Anyway.

One evening, while I was there, I was having a very selfish conversation with Kamie I'm sure, and the children (hers, not mine. mine were in their cages fast asleep) just kept coming out from their rooms and interrupting me. "The nerve of these children!" I would think, but not say, "Can't they see it's DARK OUT?" "Did not their mother put them in bed!??" I just couldn't fathom this brand of childhood license and parental helplessness.

Not many years later, when I was struggling with the very same nighttime problem myself (go figure!), I called Kamie. She suggested putting the kids on a stool. She had tried it herself recently and it seemed to make her son unhappy, which was the point.
(I'm not talking bar stool here, btw. Step stool! This is ours, before we used it.)

The idea behind the stool is many-fold. We don't just use it for bedtime troubles. It replaces the corner (I didn't have a single available corner in my house at the time we put this into practice, so that was a consideration) and there is nothing to lean against (compounding the misery). Also, we put it in the middle of the living room, so everyone can see the disgraced person as they pass through (added humiliation). 

We set a timer if it's a minor offense (age of the child- I round up because I'm mean! ;), but for something huge like getting out of bed, or not falling asleep and keeping your sister from doing so, we don't set the timer. I do dishes, laundry, vacuuming, and wait until the wrongdoer is tired. Really tired. Right around the time they start to get emotional, that's when I let them go to bed. When I'm feeling a little nicer, I let them decide when they're ready to go to sleep. As soon as they're ready, off they go. But if I hear another peep, back on the stool for an interminable amount of time. Begin with that approach, if you're a softie. :)

As I mentioned, the stool started out as a hindrance for nighttime antics, but it quickly became a favorite consequence and is multi-purpose now. Because it's awesome, and has been for 5+ years, I'm sure I'll refer to it again in other posts.

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