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Save Your Marriage -- Get Your Child to Sleep!

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Trouble with your spouse? ML Parenting Expert Jill Spivack says your big problem is actually little. Find out what you can do to make things right at home.

Parents kissing kid

Jill Spivack: When we talk about marriage and relationships in my parenting groups, it's always fascinating to see that the parents whose kids go to sleep at a reasonable hour ... 7-8 PM ... seem to be happier and more fulfilled than those whose kids are up til 11:00 PM.

When kids go to sleep too late, parents simply don't have any time to refuel themselves or their relationships. It seems as though they're parenting 24 hours a day and once the kids are asleep, the parents just conk out themselves. Too often, parents think they're doing their children a service by allowing them to do what they want in the bedtime arena. However, ultimately, if mom and dad fall apart, the children are the ones to ultimately suffer.

A happy parental marriage is one of the highest indicators of ultimate happiness in children. Without sleep, parents feel cranky with their children, with one another and resentful of the parental duties they're expected to perform day after day. They bicker over the simplest things, stop feeling connected and very often are too exhausted to have sex.

Bottom line ... sleep deprivation can bring out the worst in everyone in the family. If the kids go to sleep early, you have time to reconnect with yourself and your spouse which ultimately creates balance and harmony for everyone.

Need Sleep? Connect with Jill Spivack in the Momlogic community.

next: A Lesson in Beauty from Barbie?
45 comments so far | Post a comment now
Amy March 21, 2009, 1:19 PM

Anybody have any tips on this one as to how to work a 10 year old in to an 8:00ish bedtime routine, my ten year old’s 9:30 bedtime usually results in a 10:00 bedtime which I feel guilty for all the time but it feels like he has so much to get done and the night gets away from us. This is totally my fault for allowing this gradual slip to happen. I want him to be a rested kid for his own good, not just for my benefit like this article states, however I think it would benefit my hubby and I as well. Help! Any suggestions?

dee March 23, 2009, 9:46 AM

this is so timely for me since i am exhausted and furious with my 9 year old daughter because she woke me up twice last night at 3:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. and of course then i couldn’t get back to sleep hence exhaustion. i too am struggling with an earlier bedtime for her. she has been going to bed between 9 and 10 for a long while and i feel everyone would be happier if her bedtime was more like 8:00! i know that when she watches tv she is too stimulated to sleep so i have started having her turn it off at least 1/2 hour before bedtime and read. for two nights now she has been falling asleep right away. i have adjusted the time to 1/2 hour earlier and will do so again in a few days. in the meantime i have started waking her up earlier so she is tired at night. now how do i get her to over the “i had a bad dream can i sleep with you?” routine?

Lisa March 23, 2009, 11:15 AM

We often had these same problems with the kids I used to work with. They refused to sleep then they would be much grumpier. With the approval of their parents, we started using aroma therapy on the more restless children. Bath & Body Works has a whole line of inexpensive aroma therapy lotions, pillow sprays and massage oils. The lavendar vanilla helped the kids fall asleep more quickly (plus the sensual line can helo you out in the bedroom too!)Once they are used to the earlier bed time, start weening them off of the aroma therapy (you don’t want them to have a dependency on it). Good luck!

ame i. March 23, 2009, 8:49 PM

A major part of the reason my children’s sleep issues (as infants & toddlers) was a stress on my marriage was because my late-husband didn’t get up to help during the night, even on weekends. Yes, he did work full-time and I was a stay-home mom. His work was sitting in a comfy chair in front of a computer. Our daughters are 2 days short of being 2 days apart. My older daughter stopped taking naps when she was 2 1/2. There were many days I functioned on 4 hours of fitfull sleep and was lucky if I was able to sit down for more than 10 minutes at a time.
It isn’t so much the child’s sleep problems that cause discord sometimes as it is the other parent, blessed with 8 hours of sleep every night, not helping enough.

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