We all dread the 6am wake up call. Mine usually comes with a jump on the head. But the question is, how do you avoid 6am mornings and never ending nights?
I feel for Kim. As mothers especially single ones our sleep is probably the most important thing we need to lead a successful day. I have a few secrets of my own and I must say they work like a charm.
When Ben was a new born we stuck him in his crib the minute we got home from the hospital. For most that is hard to do especially because the night time feedings seem to come in intervals. I was lucky for the first 3 months I was still with Ben's dad and he was willing to get up in the middle of the night to feed Ben. Unfortunately I was one of the unlucky ones who could not breast feed. I had no milk to produce and our poor baby was starving and I had to move to formula. I did not give up on breast feeding though I continued to feed Ben through a tube so he would still latch but afar 4 weeks of pumping 20x a day and 16 supplements I still came up dry so we resorted to a bottle. I guess in a sense that was lucky because his dad and I could take shifts but that all fell apart when I was sent off on my own.
I moved out when Ben was 4 months old and bedtime was something I had to handle in my own way now. I began to rock Ben to sleep in his stroller because he wouldn't go down in his crib. This carried on for 3 months until I got fed up with rocking for hours on end, so I sleep trained Ben at 6 months. I let him cry the first night and that only last 30 min, the second was 15 and the 3rd he was off to bed without a fuss. It was easy to do. I know most parents are against it but I was alone and did not see another option. It worked and thats all that mattered because I needed my sleep in order to provide for Ben and be alert through out the following day. Ben slept through the night and he usually woke up between 8-9 am which was great. It was only recently that he has been waking up very early. Doesn't matter what time I put him to bed, he was getting up at 6am. I to used Kim's tactic and told Ben that he should not be getting up if the sun isn't awake. That worked but backfired at nap time. "but mommy the sun is awake so i can't go to sleep now"
So here is my secret. The iPad. Some may not have access to an iPad, I was lucky enough to get it as a birthday present and boy does it save my life.
When Ben wakes up early I hand him the iPad and he lays in bed with me watching netflix or playing educational games until about 830-9. Now I know some children are very energetic in the morning time and this would be a difficult tool to use for those kids. My suggestion is to find something that keeps your kids sitting for a long period of time and put it in your room the night before. Crayons and a piece of paper, a tv and their fav show or maybe a few books they can flip through. I also keep a bowl of cheerios beside my bed. If Ben is hungry as soon as he wakes up (which is rarely) he is able to snack on the cheerios before its breakfast time.
So bedtime routine. Ben has a bath and a book and some milk before bed. We sit together and chat about what happened that day and then I give him a kiss goodnight. I had to put a lock on the outside of his door when we moved to our new house because Ben would leave his room in the middle of the night and his door is right beside the stairs so it was extremely dangerous. Well that lock also comes in handy for bedtime. When it is bedtime Ben now knows he is not allowed to leave his room. He can lay in bed and look at a book or play with a stuffed animal if he isn't tired but he usually is able to put himself to sleep. We have had issues of him wanting to sleep in bed with me in the past because of circumstances but we get passed that and I make sure I am stern about bed time.
Some people my not agree with my approach and that is ok. Hopefully we are all not here to pass judgement because we all have a different and unique way of parenting and as single mothers we tend to do what works best for us. This is what worked best for me. My son is a happy little guy who sleeps well and that gives him more energy throughout the day to learn and engage.
We would love to hear your stories on how you manage to get your little one to sleep and what you do in the morning time.