Setting bedtimes is a common discussion point and it seems to be especially polarizing. When parents are ill, pregnant, or just tired from life – it can be tempting to institute strict bedtimes. Here’s a recent reply I gave about how to honor & respect the needs of the parents and our Unschoolers. While specifically replying to an inquiry about pregnancy, some of these are ideas I used during lengthy recovery from surgery. This is not a “how to” – it’s to help readers think of possible solutions.
Asking for quiet or rest times – isn’t the same as demanding a child sleep when they are not tired.
Keep in mind too, that pregnancy is fairly temporary in the scheme of things. Trying to find short term solutions to get you through the coming months is *not* the equivalent of Unparenting.
Are there activities that the kids can do that don’t require a lot of physical input from you – but still might allow them to get their own physical needs met (when our kids were toddlers – dancing/musical-type videos allowed them to jump around while I could stay sitting). A mini (or full in the yard) trampoline?
We have a game called Hyper Dash that has been an amazing investment. The “cones” can be placed in any configuration and as far apart as you want. The commands range from identifying colors or numbers and expand to simple math problems.
Also make sure that the kids are having their “emotional” bucket filled. When awake, are they getting to spend time with you and your partner?
I would always choose to lighten the load in other areas so that the kids were the last to feel the impact of any exhaustion I was feeling. Make simple or prepackaged meals, use paper plates & plastic utensils. Don’t worry about folding/hanging clothes (they can get stuff directly from the dryer or a communal basket) – if they’re wearing clothes at all.
Borrow audiobooks from the library and listen together instead of being the one reading (or FB/Twitter/YouTube, they’re flooded right now with storytimes)
Once you go to sleep or lay down – make sure the kids have whatever they need to quietly occupy themselves. TV, CD player, tablet (this can be movies, music, audiobooks, games, etc.) Night lights, sippy cups of water, etc.
There is a whole swath of options between “connected/active/engaged 24/7” and “it’s bedtime, go to sleep”.
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