Dear friends and fellow parents,
I would never have guessed that I’d become a huge proponent for a set kids’ sleep schedule. Of course, I would also never have guessed that we’d be put into this situation by necessity, or by kids who depend on that rigid scheduling for their well-being. But, here we are. And while it’s what’s best for our family (and I love it), it’s still hard. In other words, I need your help, patience, and understanding.
I need you to understand that our kids need a set sleep schedule to function.
Maybe you have MAGICAL UNICORN children who can sleep anytime, anywhere, and be totally fine with it. If so, that’s awesome – and I’m slightly jealous.
Mine can’t. Our kids have always been poor sleepers – and they had multiple SLEEP REGRESSIONS and problems that derailed any progress we made. It took months to get them accustomed to sleeping at all.
Now that they’re actually sleeping, it comes with massive provisions all set by my kids’ biology. In other words, my kids aren’t trying to be picky sleepers – they just are.
They can only sleep in their own beds – and they don’t like having anyone else in bed with them. Their bedrooms have to be dark – and they like a white noise machine. And our kids have to sleep at the same time – and on the same schedule.
Any deviation from their sleep needs and schedule means trouble. Big trouble.
Trouble like night terrors – a weird, seemingly awake state where they scream and are inconsolable for hours on end. Nothing you can do helps. You just have to wait it out. It’s awful. And when they finally do wake up, they’re unbelievably cranky, disoriented, and likely to slip into another episode because they’re exhausted.
Basically, SLEEP IS SACRED and protected like an endangered species at our house. If your kids are the same way, I feel you. But if your children are more flexible when it comes to sleep, thank you for understanding that mine aren’t.
Please be patient while we’re in this stage of skipping evening activities
Because OUR SET SLEEP SCHEDULE is such a priority for us, there’s a lot of evening activities we have to skip. It’s not that we want to skip them all… okay, fine. There’s a few we’re totally fine skipping. And in those instances, we’re quite grateful for our set-in-stone bedtimes!
But when THE NEIGHBORHOOD is having a swim party or friends invite us over for a fun evening or family invites us to a potluck dinner, it’s nothing personal. We aren’t avoiding you when we invariably decline. We just have young children who have to go to bed at 6:30 every night. We’ve tried fudging that in the past, and it has never ended well.
As our kids get older, I’m sure we’ll be able to push their BEDTIME back and attend more activities. But until then, please… keep inviting us to events. We’ll still to have to decline, but we appreciate being invited anyway.
And thank you for your help, patience, and understanding during this stage of our lives
Being in this stage of mandatory nap and bedtimes is hard. We won’t be here forever. But while we are here, I appreciate all you do to accommodate our crazy-rigid schedule.
Thank you for offering to babysit while a child is napping so that I can make that emergency run to the store for milk. Bless you for coming over after the kids are in bed so that my husband and I can go on a much-needed date. And thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for rescheduling our lunch date so that my baby girl can take a nap.
I know, in my head, that this stage won’t last forever. But in my heart, it feels like that day will never come. So thank you for your patience. Thank you for understanding – and reaching out to me so I don’t get lost in this moment.
A mama that likes her kids to get their sleep
When my children were small we almost NEVER missed or delayed nap times. It just wasn’t worth it. We missed out on a lot of activities, but I don’t think we actually missed out on anything really important, although it sometimes felt like it at the time.
We hear ya! We have a set bedtime and get a lot of flack for it, especially around holidays when it’s very difficult to maintain….but we are honestly the only ones who know what the next day looks like after a sleep- deprived night. It isn’t worth it.