Question from a "19 Kids and Counting" fan: Did any of your children have issues with settling down at bedtime or staying in their own bed for the night?
There's a difference between a little one with a bad attitude who doesn't want to stay in their bed for bedtime versus a little one that wakes up in the middle of the night and wants to cuddle up with daddy and me.
I am not a stickler about them staying in their own rooms at night; I've never been really rigid about it. If one of mine wakes up in the middle of the night and comes pitter-pattering down the hallway to climb into bed with daddy and me, I love it. I don't mind that a bit. I just let them come and snuggle with dad and me, and we all wake up in the morning smooshed all over the bed. Usually there are two or three in there by the morning. At night, you'll hear all these little feet pitter-pattering across the floor.
If it's more of an issue of having an attitude about going to bed, I like to practice with them during the daytime. It helps them learn to obey mama and understand when it's time to be quiet -- we call it happy nappy time. We don't just do nappy time. We do happy nappy time.
I'll announce to Josie and to Jordan, "It's happy nappy time in 15 minutes, so we're going to have a snack and then get ready for happy nappy time." Sometimes their little faces aren't so happy about hearing naptime's coming, but I tell them, "We're going to be happy."
I don't let them whine and I don't let them grumble and complain and pout. I also let them sing to Jesus as they go to sleep, which they really like. They are allowed to sing quietly to themselves. They can't be real loud or obnoxious, and they have to keep their head on the pillow. They know the rule is head down. And they know that if they don't follow the rules, mommy will come and scold them. They don't want to be scolded, so they listen to mommy!
When they wake up, it's the cutest thing. I've taught them, "When you wake up and you're all done with happy nappy time, then you get to play." When they're done, sometimes I'll hear them wake up, and they'll be singing to me: "Mommy, I'm all done. Happy nappy time's all done." Then they get rewarded for being so good.
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