It's 7pm... "yes, all is quiet. maybe tonight, just maybe they won't call my name." You slowly tip toe out of the room, quiet as a mouse so as not to arouse the "sleeping" children. You sit down in the kitchen to think about breathing after your long day.
"Mommy! I need to tell you one more thing."
Your 5 year old trickles into the kitchen "I forgot to go to the bathroom"
You send him to the bathroom and turn to your phone to check when you husband will be home to join the party and you hear. "I'm so thirsty! I need water."
"Mommy, you didn't hug me yet, I need a hug." You come to give your innocent little 3 year old the 15th hug of the night. "I also need a kiss" You smile and give the 30th kiss of the night. "Don't forget this cheek."
"Mommy, I forgot to tell you, my teacher said I need to sign my permission slip, I'll just go get it now, so I don't forget."
And then..... you loose it! "Everyone in bed! No one gets out. Till tomorrow morning." You slam the door in a puff and slouch on the couch berating yourself inside for yelling after promising yourself that tonight would be different.
or- you run back and forth all evening as a butler disturbing water and snacks, signing permission slips, listening to stories and breaking up fights. When they are done and have finally passed out into bed. You walk into the kitchen and see that the clock says 10pm! Where did my night go- I started bedtime so early :(
TONIGHT will be different! Tonight you will introduce the PASS SYSTEM.
In the attachment below you will find 6 options of passes
Each child receives 2 Passes and 2 passes ONLY! They can use these passes as they see fit during a duration of time that you set. For example in the next half hour. Most kids will use them within the first minute.
After they "cash in" their pass- there is NO MORE calling mommy name.
The children love the autonomy and power that this gives them. THEY choose which passes they want and YOU choose that you will be doing bedtime during this time frame.
When they call again after they have no passes- remind them that passes time is over and tomorrow they can choose 2 more.
"But, mommy this is so important - you have to hear this! "
"Mommy, I have to go to the bathroom, I'm gonna have an accident!"
Be firm in your response - "Passes time is over- I would love to hear what you have to say in the morning. I'm sorry, but one of the pass options are bathroom trip again - you chose something else. Tomorrow, make sure to pick the pass for the bathroom. Good night I love you" and close the door.
They might cry and call and badger - hold your ground! It's worth it! They will see that 2 passes is business and will stop calling you!
Something special I added - Children that don't complain or ask for third passes or more requests all week- they can receive 3 passes on Friday Night. This is a great incentive as they truly look forward to this!
In addition- If you feel you need a consequence for the child that keeps breaking the rule and pushing the limit. You can let him know- "when you call me after you used 2 passes- you have taken a pass from tomorrow night- therefore tomorrow you can only have one pass" Children might get upset about this. However, laying the framework for a structured bedtime routine gives children consistency they crave and the personal time and space that every mom NEEDS!
Remember- "As parents our job is teach our children how to deal with disappointment - not shield them from it!"