It’s bedtime, and the only thing you want is your child to sleep so you can finish your stuff.
You want to implement your sleep training routines, yet your child keeps testing you. I know you said no more toys in bed. Quiet time. Don’t make eye- contact.
Between the feeds, your child drills his finger into your mouth, touches your lashes, and tries to make small talk with you. You shut your eyes, close your mouth as hard as you can to no avail. With an exasperated sigh, you look at your little one, smile at his ingenuity.
At this point, LEAN into the behavior, instead of saying, ‘Go to sleep right now; close your eyes; monsters will come in!’ Truth is no one really ever sleeps immediately when you say these words.
Lean into the behavior. Whisper loving words under the covers. Let your child poke you (with gentle reminders) in the nose, the mouth, wherever. Just initiate the move, massage his tummy if that will make him feel loved; add much of physical affection, then you will fall asleep without that dreaded power struggle.
I read a parent’s comment in one of the Mommy Groups on Facebook. She said she gets irritated that her first-born, four years old, kept grabbing her baby sister’s (9 months) milk bottle. Ate (big sister) wants the bottle too, demands to be cuddled like her baby sister.
What do you do?
Why not say, ‘Come let me hold you. You want cuddles and bear hug? Come here, my little big girl.’ Tickle her; hold her to your chest again like the old times, because all these fill her need too. No need to say, ‘You’re a big girl, stop it.’ She longs for the physical affection she sees you give her sibling.
Look through the behavior. She needs to see and feel the affection you’re showing your youngest. Ate didn’t really see how she was nurtured and cared for when it was just you and her. And now she does with her own eyes. She still wonders if you’ve ever done these with her, and of course, you have. This is win-win. She’d feel the love that no words could explain.
Imagine if you dismissed her or reprimanded her instead?
Go ahead, just lean in.