Bedtime at our house goes a little something like this:
7:25 - Start giving the warning call that bedtime is imminent
7:30 - Everyone gets into PJs
7:35 - Make milk cups for youngest two and issue any medications currently needed
7:40 - Turn lights and TV off and everyone gives each other good-night hugs/kisses
7:45 - Oldest goes to bed and reads books until he falls asleep
7:45-8:30 - My husband and I each rock our two youngest daughters (1 & 2 years old) to sleep
Yes. We still rock our 1 and 2 year old toddlers to sleep. We did the same for their older brother until he was almost 3. And you know what? I don't regret it. Not one bit. You know what else? Their brother is perfectly capable of falling asleep on his own and has had no emotional or psychological damage from being rocked to sleep.
It never fails, as soon as your friends, and random people on the street, find out you are expecting they all start in with the unsolicited advice. A lot of that advice revolves around sleep. People are always telling you to get sleep now (because we all know pregnant women sleep like rocks -- more like they are laying on a bed of rocks), or telling you how your baby should sleep. Never put them in bed with you! Make it as noisy as possible when they sleep so they won't be light sleepers! Always put them to sleep on their back! Never give them a bottle to get to sleep! Never let them cry it out! Make them cry it out! Never rock them to sleep or they will never learn to sleep on their own! You get the idea...
I followed some of the advice and some of it really was helpful, but not all of it worked for me and my situation. Mainly, I always rock my kids to bed. It is something I love to do. It's something they enjoy as well. Maybe it's because my husband and I both work outside of the home or maybe it's because we both love looking at those peaceful angel faces when they finally fall asleep... If I'm being completely honest, it's both. Mom guilt is real and while my kids love their day schools, teachers and friends I still wish we had more time together during the weekdays. I want to make those evening hours last a little bit longer. Don't get me wrong, some nights are chaos and we count the minutes down until bedtime, but since we rock them to sleep we always have a sweet, calm ending. You look at their little angel face and forget what devils they were 10 minutes prior.
And I feel like we had quality time that day.
Time where I am solely focused on them and nothing else.
Even though they are in twilight or sleeping, I think they feel it too.
Now, for the nay-sayers and advice-givers: it really does work for us. My son really does fall asleep on his own. Right before his third birthday my son started to stir more instead of rest when we held him so we transitioned to giving him a cup of milk and laying him in bed. No problems. He calmly went to sleep on his own. There was the occasional night where he would take longer than others and might call for us a few times, but not too often. We still tuck him into bed each night. Even though he's now too big to be rocked, he still deserves a bit of special attention before nodding off. Speaking of attention, my husband and I still have plenty of time to ourselves and with each other after we rock our youngest two to sleep.
Just as it is with almost everything in parenting, I know it's not for everyone to rock their children to sleep. Right now, I am just thankful it still works for us, because I know the day will come all too quickly my babies will outgrow it and I will miss those sweet moments.