This Mom’s Look at the Value of a Solid Routine!
As an only child, EJ likes to hang out with us. My husband and I are enjoying this time with him because we know that in the next 4-5 years we might lose that interpersonal connection with him. However, I run my household like a company, and we have set hours of work, breaks, fun, and downtime.
Downtime for EJ is after homework and dinner. Downtime for my husband is usually when he returns home from work. Downtime for me is usually after 9;00pm. During the week and between 8:00-9pm is the “critical hour”. You know that hour when you feel like it’s a mad dash to the finish line, hoping that within the hour your child/children will be off in slumber and you’ll get a few good hours to yourself! I dread interruptions like the phone or doorbell to ring; I want the lights dim and quiet in the house. The older I get the worse it gets; I am militant during the week at this hour. My primary focus is the bedtime routine and I pray that EJ is asleep by 9:00pm.
I like to think I am the honorary queen of Trial and Error: If at first I don’t succeed, I try, try, and try again. This story takes us to the bedroom. It’s not what you think; I’m talking about my son’s bedroom. Bedtime has been challenging for my 7 year old son. It’s not that he isn’t tired after a long day, he is! He just doesn’t want to miss out on any of the good stuff that happens after he goes to bed and will try anything and I mean ANYTHING to stay up. But, bedtime is bedtime!
Relax-a-bye Baby has definitely assisted with the bedtime rituals. EJ knows the routine like clockwork and likes it! I was desperate before I wrote the book last year, but this year it’s all about integrating the principles and repetition of body relaxation. Well, I got my glimpse of something magical just the other night in the bedroom. EJ took two big deep breaths, (not a yawn-there is a difference ya know) right after we turned the lights out! He usually yawns and that’s my signal that we are literally minutes away from slumber town. On this particular night, he deliberately took the breaths, straightened his legs out, and went to sleep on his own. I usually do the guided body relaxation meditation on demand, but this time he didn’t want it.
I knew that reading Relax-a-bye Baby and the guided meditation were working. He knew that a big deep breath is what his body needed at that moment. I am thrilled that he is learning to take care of his own relaxation needs one day at a time. I truly believe and have witnessed that through repetition, perseverance, and love, young children can adapt to a routine and deliberately add tools to their emotional toolbox for the present and into their futures.
It’s all about trial and error: be patient, try different techniques, and you never know when that little bit of magic may appear!
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Have a great weekend!