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Sometimes, the easiest thing to do, isn’t the best thing to do.

“Boys pick up your toys.”

– Me

“Boys, why is this mess all still here?”

– Me again

“Boys put your toys away.”

-Still Me

“BOYS CLEAN UP YOUR MESS!”

-Me, yet again

No one likes to be a nag. Of course, if I put my children’s toys away it would only take me about 5 minutes and a lot less headaches, BUT what would that be teaching my very smart and very stubborn boys?

That they don’t need to clean up after themselves because

“Mommy will do it.” 

Sure I wouldn’t have to keep repeating myself by asking them over and over again to do something that I could easily do AND I could make sure the toys were put away exactly the way I like them to be. BUT, tomorrow, cleaning up toys and my boys’ mess, would become my job again.

This is because…

My 5 year old scientistwould have come to the conclusion:

If I don’t pick up my toys, after Mommy yells at us 4 times, she’ll do it for me.

My strong-willed 3 year old will realize:

If I don’t clean up my mess before it’s bedtime, when I go to sleep, Mommy will do it and then I won’t have to in the morning!

My monkey-see, monkey-do 1 year old will:

Carefully watch his older brothers NOT pick up their mess, and join in the rebellion!

And this would go on and on because why not? Why bother doing a job that someone else will do for you if you let it go long enough? It’s human nature. Children will be children. There are very few children who enjoy cleaning up- it’s not the fun part. 

But if I take the time to help them put away their toys (how I like them to be put away) and gently remind them the benefits of putting their toys away:

  • They won’t get broken
  • We will know where to find them the next time they want to play with them
  • No one will get hurt by stepping on them (legos + feet = OUCH!)

I will be teaching them, instead of doing the job for them. I will show them that they are capable of doing this task on their own and they will benefit from it in the long run. 

The same thing goes for teaching your children to fall asleep on their own. 

Sure, it’s much nicer to be snuggled to sleep. And think about how nice it feels if someone pets your hair as you close your eyes. Of course it’s easy to be lulled into sleep as someone gently rocks you back and forth. But unless you want to be like the sad little mother in “Love You Forever” who drives across town and climbs into her adult son’s room, this is something they need to learn to do on their own. 

Again very few children are going to say “Stop mom, I want to be alone as I go to sleep.” But as an adult, you have to take a step back and understand what an important skill learning to fall asleep on your own is, and let your children figure it out for themselves. No one is saying you have to do it cold turkey and “abandon” your child. There are several ways to ease them into it, to teach them, but you have to take the steps to do this. 

At times it can definitely be easier to keep doing what you’re doing to get your child to sleep (climbing into bed with them and taking a little snooze until they are sleeping, can be very comfy) but if you want to set your child up for success (and let’s be honest, what parent doesn’t want that!) they need to be able to do this on their own. Being able to fall asleep by themselves will help them get the best and most restorative, uninterrupted sleep possible. 💜🧸

Learning how to fall asleep on their own is very important for children.

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