dear blogging nana;
I am a grandmother of a 5 year old whose mom works at night so I often have to put him to bed at night. Here’s the problem: At night he just doesn’t want to go to sleep. he’ll do everything possible to stay up; dawdle, not cooperate in brushing his teeth, in getting on his pjs. I’ve established a steady routine: dinner, puzzles which he loves, bath, getting ready and then books, but it’s like pushing a dirigible one land. What should i do?
tired out in a small town.
What I’m about to say goes against everything I was told when I was raising children, and probably everything you were told as well: play vigorous games with him so your grandson gets to laugh uproariously. This is less to tire him out than to help him feel connected and hopeful and unload some of the feelings of the day through laughter.
You may find that after laughing hard, some other feelings may percolate up, tears and anger are common. Parents & grandparents–all adults– are usually alarmed when we see those feelings in our children, but the truth is, children show us those feelings when they feel safe. Fortunately or unfortunately, children don’t do it the way we’re comfortable with, the way we think we should do it, with quiet talk. They express feelings in big sloppy ways. It’s fine too for you to slop your way to figuring out how to support him through those feelings [i hope it will include your talking with someone who can understand what you are trying to do.] But I think you will find that he’ll be a more relaxed, cooperative child after a few of these sessions.
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