At the time I did not know I was parenting a Bi-polar child, had I known I am not sure what I would have done differently but this was my plan of attack at bedtime after years of ending up past midnight. My son was very energetic and any major excitement after dinner signaled a long night.
I had to start the bedtime process almost immediately following dinner.Television had to be kept to a minimum of maybe a 30 minute show or short 1 hour movie.Anything longer would stimulate my son. I was over the idea that allowing him to watch television in bed to unwind would ever work.It only seemed to energize him even more and forget about bedtime before dawn.
So I would start him with a movie or show because he loved his shows.Then I would head to a long bath.Eventually just the bath triggered it was time for bed. I would sometimes use a scented bath to relax him. Even after the bath there was still an hour or more before actual bedtime.My son was unable to unwind quickly so this process was mandatory if I wanted him asleep before 9pm most nights.
After the bath he was allowed to read a few books in bed, when he was young he just spent the time picking out what I would read or coloring on his bed.The rule was he had to remain in his room, he didn’t have to remain in bed just yet.
About 30 minutes later I would return and read 2-3 books to him.I would then allow him to stay awake anywhere from 30-60 minutes only if he remained calm and in bed.Most times he would color or look at books.Granted there were nights he wanted another drink or just didn’t want to stay but by staying consistent and always returning him to his room worked.
Many nights I was thrilled to return to his room and find him sound asleep with books all over the place.Some nights I would have to return and remove all the books accept one.He was then allowed to calm himself with the one book.During the last stage I would turn off the bright light and only keep on the soft bedside lamp.This helped his system register the sleepy train was a coming.
My best advice is to never fall asleep with your child.That worked against me for years and I was unable to get him to sleep without my body next to him.I can’t tell you how many times I woke up hours later, wondering where I was.
Funny how long it can take to get the kids to bed yet when we hit the pillow we are out cold!
Love them up!