Friday, April 10, 2009

Brilliant Idea or Child Abuse?

My children are very reluctant to go to bed. We (the Texan Pops and myself) are very regular about bedtime ritual: showers, jammies, teeth brushed and flossed or flourided, read a story, say a prayer, and lights out by 8:30 at the latest. But the kids have started to revolt. Maybe it's their age, maybe it's the sun staying up longer. Whatever it is, IT. IS. DRIVING. ME. NUTS.

Don't they know that I need me some alone time?

The other day, Charlie Brown asked me, "Mom, why do you and Dad stay awake so long after we go to bed?" I tried to politely (failed) explain to him, "We need to be able to pick up messes while we don't have to chase children or clean up new messes that are created while we are doing our work. We need to be able to finish jobs without new ones popping up. And, we need time to be alone and have grown-up time."

Okay, not the best explanation. Not the most compassionate, well-thought-out answer. But, really honest.

So, I've decided if the children continue to get out of bed after they've been tucked away for the night, I will give them chores. Scrub the insides of trash cans. Clean toilets. Pick up dog poop. Wipe linoleum with a rag. You know, the fun stuff that I save for myself till they're all asleep. Because if they're going to be up at night, they might as well be having the same fun that I'm subjected to, right?

How many nights do you think they'll want to get out of bed?

18 comments:

Chris said...

Absolutely NOTHING wrong with your explanation OR your "punishment" for getting out of bed.

I always just tell them I need quiet time. No crying, no yelling, no running and jumping and screaming. Just snoring children and the sound of the fan going round and round.

Noah's Mommy said...

sounds good to me....I bet only once and it would never happen again....lol

Jana said...

Perfect solution. I am sure they will go to bed happily after a couple of those nights.

Shana said...

BRILLIANT!

nicole said...

Brilliant! You might find yourself wanting them to stay up.

Ally @ Waiting For Rain said...

I am officially stealing that idea... on second thoughts, maybe not! I am pretty sure number 2 son would jump at the chance to do anything rather than sleep, and he has already shown a pro-dishwashing streak that, for the time being, for the sake of my water bill and the non-flooding of my kitchen floor, I have to curb... on the other hand, having the little blighters out there picking up dog poop at 815 pm sounds positively heavenly!!

I look forward to seeing how it works!

anymommy said...

Sounds reasonable to me. Mine get quiet time in their beds in the morning. Five minutes for every time I have to haul my tired rear up the stairs!! I think your way might be kinder...

ro said...

I love this idea and I am going to use it. So many nights going up the stairs and saying get in the bed, turn off the lights, stop talking and go to bed. I think this will break the habit.

J said...

That is such a great idea, please remind me of this when the baby gets old enough!! :-)

Jennifer said...

Not child abuse at all. I like to call that creative parenting.

Jen said...

I think that this is a great idea. I bet it helps them stay in bed.

sassy stephanie said...

You? Smartest woman e.v.e.r.

Wendy said...

Texas Mama! You're doing it all wrong!

ROTFL.

You sit at the bottom of the stairs for 30 minutes with the big wooden paddle, and the first head that pops out, you excitedly say, "Oh, good! I have a volunteer! Come here for your beating!"

Did I mention I was raised in West Texas?

Seriously, though - bedtime is NOT the time for chores! The kids should be doing some of that anyway while they are up. When the kids go to bed, that is the time for grabbing a glass of wine, cuddling up to hubby on the couch, and licking his neck if he doesn't get the hint.

NO CHORES AFTER KIDS GO TO BED! ONLY WHOOPIE. Or fun flirting, at least.

Does Anybody Hear Me said...

That is a fantastic idea! I wish I had thought of it when my kids were young.

Cookie Crums said...

So is it working??? Or are they still getting up? And I do think some of the staying up in longer days. I've started putting my little one down a half hour later and it's working.

E said...

My oldest recently confessed that he thought we had parties every night, because once when he got out of bed we had friends sitting around the dining room table. They had been on vacation, lost their keys along the way, and were locked out of their house at midnight. They came over and we made some food and then all went to bed very late. Benjamin came down when he heard us talking and apparently ever after thought we saved up the parties til he went to bed!

McVal said...

I work from home and during the summer, the kids (used to) constantly come out to my office (part of the garage) and tell me they're bored.
Like I'm supposed to entertain them when I've got 3 clients chomping at the bit for projects...
So I came up with this. If anyone of them come out and say they're bored, I give them something to do. It's usually empty the dishwasher, walk the dogs, clean the garage fridge, move laundry ahead. Problem solved... They're figuring things out on their own now...

Natalie said...

brilliant! how is it working???