I’m a huge fan of the Teachings of Abraham. Abraham is a group of consciousness from the non-physical dimension. I won’t get into the debate about whether Abraham is legit…listen to a bit and decide for yourself. There are many clips on youtube or check out their website. I have decided that I believe most of what they say and am willing to take their perspective into consideration. To me, their viewpoint offers another way of looking at things or another strategy to try.
This particular clip is on the topic of getting your kids to bed on time. A dad poses the question to Abraham of how he should get his kids to go to bed on time while staying in his vortex. For this purpose, let’s say that staying in the vortex means staying happy and positive and not getting frustrated and stressed. The response from Abraham was to let your child decide their own bedtime. The very first time I listened to this audio I could feel my entire body tense. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be done! Children need structure and boundaries. That’s what I have been taught to believe. If I let my child decide when to go to sleep then she will decide to stay up, she’ll get overtired and then I’ll have more of a nightmare on my hands. Yikes!
My second reaction was that I’ll keep this perspective in mind as another tool to consider for the naptime or bedtime battle. At the time I first listened to this audio I was really struggling with getting her down for naps. Some days it would be an hour long battle to get her down for a nap. I realize that I have a 7 month old and perhaps my bedtime battles are yet to begin but it was stressful nonetheless and I had come to dread naptime.
I have always been one to try something new if what I’m currently doing isn’t working so I decided to give this method a try shortly after listening. I was desperate and figured I really had nothing to lose. The worst that could happen was that I would have an overtired child and if this strategy didn’t work then I could go back to what I was doing or try something new. It didn’t have to be a long term commitment.
I started with naptimes since that was my biggest struggle. If I put her in the crib and she cried longer than a minute or two I would pick her up and take her downstairs to play for a bit. Then I would try to put her down for a nap again if she continued to show signs of being tired. I would repeat the process if necessary. However, I was surprised at how well this actually worked. After a bit more playing she would go down fairly easily. It didn’t take her long to figure out her limits. I will say she is not perfect at this and we still occasionally have an overtired child but it is very rare that she’s in tears because of it.
Putting her down to sleep is no longer a battle. I go in there with the attitude of “I believe you are tired and a nap (or going to bed) will be to your benefit and you will have much more fun when you get up. However, if you don’t want to sleep right now that is your decision and I fully support your choice even if I don’t 100% agree”. It is important to actually believe what I’m saying whether I’m saying it out loud or in my head because it affects how I feel. I can actually say that I now don’t have any attachment to whether or not she goes to sleep. Sometimes she’ll go 4+ hours between naps which is a long time for someone her age. However, she’s not miserable and crying. She’s content and curious (and will jump to keep herself awake and happy).
In the audio clip, Abraham talks about trusting your children to make wise decisions and to guide them to those decisions. Setting rules means that we don’t trust our children to know what’s best for them so we’ll do for them what we believe they are unable to do for themselves.
I’ve been using this technique for a couple of months now and naptime and bedtime are no longer stressful. If we have plans during the day and she doesn’t nap or delays her nap then we continue on with those plans, even if it means waking her up from a nap. We expect her to be well behaved even if she’s tired and for the most part she is. One night a few weeks ago we left her playing in the living room for a bit by herself. We didn’t hear any noise from her after a few minutes and went to check on her. She was lying on the floor surrounded by toys with something draped over her eyes, sucking her thumb to put herself to sleep. It seems she is able to recognize her limits.
For anyone struggling with getting your children to sleep I would strongly suggest that you consider this strategy. You yourself have to be ready for it because it may take some patience at the beginning. However, consider it another thing to try. What have you got to lose?