Thursday, December 9, 2010
Close Your Eyes. But I’m Not Tired…
We’ve been challenged at bedtime more often than usual in the last couple weeks. B is insistent that he isn’t tired, while his behavior is evidence to the contrary. It’s hard to stay mad at his stalling behavior when he asks a question like, “How do you fall asleep when your mind is awake?” Then I realize, we all have these moments – when our body is exhausted but our mind is racing. Hard to guess what he’s thinking about: What he learned in preschool today? The book we read before bed? Santa? Whatever it is, he needs a tool to tune it out. While my initial, burning eyelids, frustration-laden response was to tell him to count sheep, I reconsidered and thought better of it.
Soothing and Satisfying
Instead of a curt and annoyed directive to quiet down and sleep, I retrieved one of our favorites from bedtimes past from the bookshelf and gave both of us a refresher. Count Yourself to Sleep, by Lynn Hodges and Sue Buchanan is a lovely story told in verse of how a little otter settles down to sleep. Little ones are encouraged to “count yourself to sleep,” but not by counting sheep. Instead, they are encouraged to, “Count your good and perfect gifts, they all come from God.” The little otter provides some examples of things he is grateful for, which run the gamut from chocolate pudding to sunshine to Daddy’s lap, affirming for readers that there are no wrong answers. Just as I have been trying to commit to my gratitude journal each night, counting blessings is an ideal way to both settle down and foster a sense of satisfaction and content. Our board book version of this title also includes a CD with the text set to music, and once you learn the song, you won’t need to the book each night to remind you.
Helping our children learn to problem-solve gives them opportunities for cognitive development. Helping them establish a focus on gratitude and content not only promotes emotional development, but makes bedtime a little easier, too!
Appropriate for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, everyone!
Hope you’ll share your strategies for bedtime stallers in the comments and any books you’ve enjoyed recently in a link!