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My husband and I call the kids’ bedtime the “witching hour,” although you’d be hard-pressed to say who’s witchier -- us or them. They’re tired, we’re tired, and the golden carrot of a few hours of peace and grown-up time is dangling just within our reach. Call me a bad mom, but I admit I’m not always at my patient, nurturing best during the lights-out routine.
Unfortunately for me, a group of Penn State researchers has allegedly found a correlation between parents’ attitude at bedtime and their children’s quality of sleep. In the study, parents who “responded appropriately” to their kids’ clues and spoke in quiet, gentle tones had the most success in getting their children to fall -- and stay -- asleep. This certainly makes perfect sense, and I have seen firsthand that such an approach frequently works brilliantly when I can muster up the energy for it.
However, also cited in the study is an example of one mother who repeatedly attempted to engage her fidgety two-year-old with a book, even though he had clearly lost interest. The authors accuse her of using “stern directives” when her child would get out of the bed while she was reading; later they point out (a bit triumphantly, I might add) that this particular child went on to leave the room four times before finally falling asleep.
My question would be: Is the kid fidgety because he senses mommy’s desire to disengage so she can go tune into Dancing with the Stars; or is mommy so eager to disengage and go watch Dancing with the Stars because he’s so flipping fidgety? I know it’s customary to blame mom for everything, but I also think there’s got to be some cause-and-effect analysis before we decide who’s the chicken and who’s the egg here.
Have you experienced the pre-bedtime "witching hour"? Chime in below!