Late Night Homework Meme Day Before
- by Kristy Ramirez
- – on
- in Hilarious
One of the most common pieces of advice given to moms when they are pregnant is, “Sleep now because you won’t again for a long time!” Though it’s not particularly kind to tell a person this, it is true. Sleep changes fundamentally when a child enters the picture, and if it was possible to stock up on rest beforehand, that would be ideal.
The infant years are hard, but what some parents don’t realize is that sleep pandemonium may last much longer than the baby years. Toddlers, with their extreme brain growth and unpredictable behavior, still have issues with sleeping through the night. Even school-aged children will avoid sleep, even if they are stumbling around the house running into walls.
Researchers and doctors say bedtime routines are essential for sleep success. Children should know what to expect as bedtime arrives, and soothing activities should prepare their bodies and minds for rest. However, despite everyone’s best intentions, there’s no sure way to make sure kids will go to bed easily, and it’s nearly impossible to ensure they stay in bed the whole night.
Whether parents choose co-sleeping, sleep training, or just winging it and trying to survive, children’s erratic sleep patterns rank high on the list of parental complaints. In fact, they are such a common issue among parents that memes dealing with the sleep issues of children are abundant. Here are the 15 that capture the sleep struggle perfectly, as well as what all these sleep issues mean for parents and their kids.
15 Brain Exhaustion
After a long day of managing the needs of children, parents fantasize about that magic moment when the kids are asleep and they can accomplish tasks that don’t involve feeding people or wiping behinds. The after bedtime hours are ripe for reading, creating, completing tasks for personal enrichment, or reconnecting with a partner. It’s important for parents to have this time so they don’t burn out on the 24/7 job that is parenting.
Unfortunately, by the time many parents get through a whole day of parenting and a bedtime routine, they are exhausted. Physical exhaustion is a given, but the mental exhaustion can take new parents by surprise. Despite the list of to-do items and the previous dreams of accomplishing so much before the next day, it’s very possible mom or dad will end up staring at a TV screen with Daniel Tiger or Caillou playing and not notice for several minutes. When they do notice, they generally decide to shut down for the night because if a person can watch Caillou without realizing it, they really are done for the day.
14 Time Change Nightmare
When we finally have a bedtime routine that works and our child has settled into a decent sleep schedule, a time change will kick us in the face and take away all the hard-earned progress we’ve made.
Avoiding time change issues is hard unless we move to one of the states that doesn’t participate in this madness. Daylight savings time is especially difficult since children see that it’s light outside a full hour after they are told lights out. Their bodies don’t shut down for rest, and many will resent being asked to go to bed when daylight awaits.
There are a few tricks to avoiding some of the time change chaos, but it’s necessary to start at least a week in advance. By moving bedtimes in increments one way or the other depending on which time change is taking place, it’s possible for parents to manipulate their children’s bedtime without being caught. Just be sure to hide the clocks when attempting this if you have children who can already tell time.
13 The Bedtime Person
Researchers say that over 90% of children have had a preference for one parent over the other at some point during childhood. While this is normal and not a cause for alarm, it can wreak havoc at bedtime when the person always designated to put the child down is burning out on the bedtime crazy.
With infants, moms who breastfeed are almost always put in the position of getting children down for sleep. They are also tasked with getting up to feed babies when they want to eat from the 24 hour breast milk buffet all night long. That’s why moms frequently discuss the exhaustion and brain fog that takes place that first year of a baby’s life. Sleep deprivation can be detrimental, and no one knows that better than new moms.
If possible, getting dad in on the bedtime routine as the child grows is ideal. Taking turns is also an option, even if the child prefers one parent’s bedtime routine over the others. By splitting the job, neither parent is abandoned to this daunting task every night, and each one will appreciate the contribution the other makes.
12 Sleep Equipment
Where there’s a struggle, there’s a product to try to fix it. That is extremely true when talking about children’s sleep. Swaddlers, noise makers, and special concoctions containing calming ingredients all claim to get little ones to go to sleep and stay asleep. However, most don’t live up to the promise.
While it’s fine to experiment with what works for our children, it’s important to keep safety in mind. It’s safest for a baby to sleep on their back in a bed without pillows or sheets they can cover themselves with. It’s also essential to ask a pediatrician before giving our children anything to help them sleep, even it’s a natural soother.
With older children, make sure they are asleep on a bed they can’t easily roll off of, and hold off on bunk beds until they are ready. It’s also good to remember the most important fact about children’s sleep: when they can’t rest well, they usually just want their parent, not a product.
11 The Co-sleeping Option
Many families are choosing to co-sleep, and co-sleeping can be a great option when done safely. However, co-sleeping comes with its own set of challenges.
It’s much easier to nurse a child or to sooth them during a night terror when the child is within arm’s length. There’s no stumbling around drowsily, no trying to see or hear what’s happening on the baby monitor. It’s a time saver. However, it can also be a sleep killer.
Children who are in close proximity to mom or dad want to touch mom or dad. At first it’s cute and cuddly, a warm baby hand reaching out for their parents’ touch. After a year or so, it’s less cute. Children will sleepily grasp for a piece of mom or dad’s flesh, and they don’t care how that affects anyone’s sleep. The parents may end up scared to move or roll over, let alone move a child’s foot from their face. Co-sleeping can make not waking up the baby even harder.
10 Bedtime Myths
There will always be those parents who view bedtime as a simple time of joy spent with a child after a day in the complicated world. Bedtime stories are read, days are discussed, hugs and kisses are given. Honestly, bedtime will probably be like this for every parent some of the time, but it’s unrealistic to think that getting a child to give up their awake time every single night is always going to be rainbows and roses. Sometimes it’s the hardest part of the day.
If bedtime doesn’t look like the sitcom version you imagined for your life, don’t despair. Sleep challenges are consistently ranked high on the list of problems for parents. In fact, what parents usually end looking forward to about bedtime is the fact that their kids will sleep for at least a couple of hours so they can have quiet, adult time. The lead up to bedtime is just what we have to endure to get to the quiet time.
9 Powerful Senses
It’s easy to wonder if a child’s senses are working correctly when they’re little. They will put anything they find in their mouths, regardless of how it smells or tastes. They don’t hear the words, “Pick up your toys” or “Don’t run”. However, this is a warning for every parent planning on partaking in anything they don’t want their kids to be a part of after bedtime: they have Spidey senses after dark.
That candy bar that’s been saved all day so it can be enjoyed in peace after the kids are asleep? The kids will hear the wrapper opening from 50 feet away. They’ll smell that microwave popcorn that’s being heated up for movie night with the hubs. They will slip down the hall or down the stairs like ninjas and catch parents doing whatever they need to do to unwind. Then the children will come unhinged because bedtime means being left out.
Speaking of ninja skills, when parents finally do fall asleep, they will likely be awoken at some point by a feeling, a sense that another presence is in the room. When they finally convince themselves to open their eyes and investigate, they find that presence to be their child standing at the edge of their bed staring. More than likely, the parent will scream.
This happens for a variety of reasons. Some kids just need the security of knowing their parents are in the house and can be found. They may slip into mom and dad’s room unnoticed several times before ever getting caught.
Another issue is sleepwalking. Children who sleepwalk may find themselves next to their parents’ bed without knowing how they arrived there. In fact, they may just be staring because they are still asleep. In these cases, it’s important to guide a child back to their room or have them co-sleep with a parent if there is a chance of them getting out of the house. Sleepwalking should be discussed with a pediatrician so treatment options can be discussed.
7 Snack Time
Remember that three course meal you fed your child before bed? Remember how they said they were too full to eat another bite? That is only true until bedtime. When it’s bedtime, their stomachs become empty and they cannot possibly sleep unless they are fed again.
This is one of the most infuriating bedtime stalls because it places parents in a difficult position. If a child is lying to avoid going to bed, then letting them rummage through the fridge past bedtime rewards them for not complying. However, if they are truly hungry and a parent sends them to bed anyway, by morning they will be famished and probably exhausted from not sleeping well. What’s the answer?
Each parent has to know their child and decide based on that. It is necessary to point out that growth spurts can cause children to suddenly need to eat more. Kids also hate bedtime, so it’s anyone’s guess as to what actually causes these late night feeding frenzies.
6 The Sleep Song
The feeling of elation that follows getting a baby to sleep is usually short lived. Infants need to eat throughout the night, and they need a parent to assist with that. In fact, sleeping through the night for infants means sleeping five hours. That’s a bit low of the eight hours adults expect to get to recover from raising the kids.
But it’s not just infants who wake up screaming at night. Though sleep patterns in kids tend to stabilize as they grow older, many children still have stages of interrupted sleep. Growth spurts, night terrors, or untreated conditions can throw a child into a perilous sleep cycle and leave them waking up throughout the night. When they wake up, they generally want to check in with their parents, and that means no sleeping through the night for anyone in the house.
5 The Slipping Away Game
Those who sleep train say to never let a baby fall asleep in your arms. While it’s fine to let a child sleep on you, especially if you’re nursing and they want that comfort, it is hard to put a sleeping child down. The minute their backs hit the mattress, it sets some kind of invisible alarm off in their brains. Their arms flail, their eyes shoot open, and parents are left looking for a hiding place hoping their little one will go back to sleep.
This gets better with age, but toddlers are still known for latching on to their sleep partner for dear life. When mom or dad put them on their own bed, most toddlers feel the need to wake up and demand companionship. If they don’t get it, prepare to start the entire bedtime routine over again.
This is why many people unexpectedly become co-sleepers.
4 Always a Surprise
Researchers still say the best way to get a child to sleep is to use a consistent routine so they will recognize the cues and their bodies and minds will prepare for rest. This is great advice and helps kids because they know what to expect. However, be warned. Even when a child should expect bedtime all day, they don’t.
The same routine performed the exact same way every night will work a percentage of the time, but it’s not a foolproof plan. The odds do truly have to be in the parent’s favor for their child to go down easily for several nights in a row without getting up for water, to go to the potty, or because they sense they are missing something by being asleep.
Some parents pass out cards that serve as a free pass for their kids at night. These cards give the child a limited amount of times they can get out of bed before the parents lose their minds. This gives the kids an illusion of control over the situation since they don’t feel trapped into bedtime. It also gives smart parents a chance to put their children to bed 15 minutes early knowing they will use that much time running out their pass cards. It’s kind of a win/win, or just an okay compromise. Who cares as long as everyone eventually sleeps.
3 Never-Ending Bedtime
Woody and Buzz are kind of kidding when they say bedtime lasts four hours. Kind of. Bedtime routines are different in every household, and it is not impossible for a child to technically be in their bed at eight o’clock but still awake at eleven. When you count the hour it probably took to take a bath, read stories, and brush teeth, four hours actually isn’t that far off the time it could take to get a child to drift off to dreams.
The other issue is the constant waking, those times when kids are finally asleep only to wake back up again. Researchers say this is not only common but perfectly normal. Toddlers want the company of their parents, so they will resist bedtime in order to try to stay near their caregiver. If they wake up in the middle of the night, their first instinct is to find their parents and be close to them.
These facts don’t make it easier to live a sleep-deprived existence, which is what most parents feel like they do for years. It does, however, offer some insight as to why bedtime may feel like it never truly ends.
2 Party Animals
When kids don’t sleep, parents suffer. There is no way around the facts: kids have to get enough sleep or their brain function is impaired. Many behavioral issues have been blamed on lack of sleep, so when a child decides to defy bedtime and stay up late to see if they can hear sounds of their parents eating sugar or watching TV with cuss words, the next day is sure to be an adventure.
Unfortunately, a child getting less sleep one night absolutely does not guarantee they will go to bed earlier or easier the next night. In fact, the entire bedtime routine will probably be harder the less sleep they have. The less sleep a child gets, the harder they are to put to sleep. There’s no logic to this math, but parents can attest to the fact that it’s true.
The best chance to reclaim sanity is to try to make sure they go to sleep at a decent hour and that they don’t have to get up super early if they happen to want to sleep in to catch up. However, they probably won’t. Children under the age of seven don’t believe in sleeping in.
1 Bedtime Achieved
At the end of the night, whenever that is, mom and dad get to bask in the glow of having accomplished the near impossible task of putting children to bed. There are feelings of elation, relief, and shock. This is where partnerships are solidified and marriages grown.
No matter how long it takes, kids, like all other humans on the planet, eventually have to sleep. There may be crying on the part of the child and the parents; there may be negotiations and one parent playing good cop to the other parent’s bad. But it will happen.
When bedtime is achieved, the parents of the sleeper should relax, reconnect and eat all of the chocolate in the house. They should also take note of what worked and what didn’t since bedtime comes along every single day.
When frustration seeps in, remember that kids will be teenagers one day and all they will want is to sleep uninterrupted until noon. That is when we have our revenge.
Sources: Today’s Parent, Webmd, NPR, Psychology Today, Dr. Sears, Parents.com
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