Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tough Love

Bedtime.  Elle has a bath, brushes her teeth, gets a book read to her, says her prayers and then falls fast asleep.  Well, all of that is true except for the falling fast asleep part.  There is NOTHING fast about getting this girl to sleep.  Elle has artfully extended her bedtime each night.  It wasn't that big of a deal at first but over a period of time the nighttime routine became just the never ending routine.  We would get her all settled and then she would pop into our bedroom for some reason ie, thirsty, thinks she needs to brush her teeth a little more, just not tired, you name it, she has thought of the reason.  Jon and I decided we had to nip it now.  Here was our plan...and we were not playing around.  She gets the bath, brushing, book, prayers, snuggles but then that's it.  We told her that she can leave her door open but has to stay IN her bed.  If she gets out we will lock her door.  I even made her a chart.  Every night she stays in her room she gets to put a sticker on her chart in the morning.  Four stickers on the chart= a prize of her choice! She was pretty excited about the sticker chart.  So the first night she tested us and we held strong.  She popped out of her bed and came in for some excuse so back in her room she went and we had to lock it.  It wasn't an exercise in scaring her so she was allowed to have her light on but we did lock the door.  The crying was so sad to me.  But Jon said, we had to be strong...for her.  She cried herself to sleep. And you can bet that as soon as I knew she was asleep, I opened that door right up and snuggled her in her bed while she slept.  The next morning she begged for a sticker.  We had to tell her no.  That sad routine happened again the second night as well.  But the third night on (when she realized we were serious) it worked!  She now stays in her bed with her door open.  Each morning she puts a sticker on her chart and she has earned four prizes!  That is 16 nights of staying in her bed!  Her first two prizes she asked for were pretty cute.  All she wanted was to go to the mall and ride the glass elevator five times in a row!  So funny and so cute to me.  Her other prize was to go to the candy store.  We combined the two prizes and made a day of it.  We went straight to the glass elevator and rode that thing 5 times in a row.  She was in HEAVEN and could NOT believe that we really were doing it.  So, so fun.  We also headed to the candy store where she got a bag full of her favorites.  I love this little girl, and I must say that Jon was right.  We did it for her.  She is so much happier at bedtime now with her set rules and is so proud of herself each morning as she puts a sticker on to her sticker chart.  It was tough but so worth it.