Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The secret to perfect bedtimes

I was ecstatic last night, because although it was one of my nights home alone with the kids, everything went swimmingly: we were done with dinner early, I got the dishes all cleaned up and the kids lunches' made, and did a bunch of chores off my list, and then put the kids in bed nicely with no screaming, and finished my writing, and heck, I went to bed early for once.

So I was trying to figure out what the secret was, because who wouldn't want to repeat such a wonderful experience? Then I remembered that Tanya had had dinner ready for me when I got home, and I got home a little earlier than usual, and Tanya took Ethan away to a school function, so it was just me and the girls. So, the secret is for your spouse to plan ahead and set your evening up nicely for you. :)

Nah, I knew that a part of it was Tanya hauling Ethan away and making things simpler, and I have a theory that the lack of Ethan made Chloe a lot more tractable, but I think the subtler thing is dinner. Having dinner done well before 6pm means there's time to interact and play with the kids before getting them started on bedtime, so they don't resent it, and so there's time to apply positive incentives (like, get dressed now, and whatever time is left I can use to read you a book) rather than punishments.

So now I have a good reason to plan ahead for dinner more. And to be home as early as possible. I even considered, tonight, bribing Ethan to go hide in his room and read a book or something, to test whether that would make Chloe easier to deal with, but I didn't.

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