Forget Bedtime (Once In A While)
By: Martha Eleftheriou
Sometimes it’s better to forget about the time and just be present with our kids. This evening I shared a wonderful time with my 8- year old daughter playing outside and swimming in the pool. I knew we would be going past her bedtime but I didn’t want to bring that up as this issue is the one that creates nightly stress for my husband and me.
Like most kids, my daughter hates going to bed. From suddenly remembering about unfinished homework, to being very hungry, to full out meltdowns, bedtime is still an ongoing challenge almost on a nightly basis. But tonight, it was different. Did my daughter change? Did she decide that she now liked going to bed? Not in the slightest! I did things differently. I let go of being the bedtime stickler and actually let her stay up later on a school night. We played together in the pool, we invented silly games and she even told me about her favorite dream which we decided would be turned into a children’s book just for fun.
By the time she made it to bed, almost an hour past her regular bedtime, she still wanted to negotiate staying up later. I explained to her that it was already well past her bedtime and that she couldn’t stay up any longer, and, of course, she still asked if we could brainstorm ideas for her children’s book. Normally I would say no. I would say no because it was already too late and she was trying to stay up even later. My no would elicit crying, her being angry with me and me leaving her room feeling deflated once again.
So this time, I asked myself, would it really make a difference if I gave in for 5 more minutes and brainstormed the ideas from her book? I checked in with my higher self and the answer was no. So I said okay and we spent the last few minutes with her lying in bed, transcribing what she wanted to put in the book while I took notes. After five minutes passed, I told her that this was it for tonight and that we would continue tomorrow. Of course she still tried to get more time awake but this time I said no and that I was going to say goodnight. She didn’t like the no part, but she didn’t put up a fight either. We said our gratitude prayer together and I kissed her goodnight feeling happy, calm and blessed.
Did I give in too much? Some people may think so, but I don’t think so. I believe that feeling happy with yourself as a parent and knowing you gave your child your presence and love, even if that means going to bed later, trumps always being attached to a specific bedtime. I’m not saying I’m going to now forget about her bedtime and let her stay up late on a nightly basis, but I’ve learned that once in a while, yes, even on a school night, we parents could just forget about the clock and fully immerse ourselves in the beauty, fun and joy of the present, albeit, stretched-out moment.
Martha Eleftheriou is married and a mother to two beautiful daughters ages 8 and 1 years old. She is a transformational and spiritual Life Coach, a certified elementary school teacher (OCT), Reiki Master and Yoga Teacher (RYT). Aside from passionately working with people in helping them to uncover their dreams and purpose, she loves reading, writing fiction and non-fiction, as well as taking regular nature walks. On the inside, she is an eternal soul seeker. She loves to question, ask, learn, un-learn, re-learn and live her life as true to her core values of love, compassion, honesty, and service as best as she possibly can. She lives with her family in King City, Ontario, Canada.