Up All Night

poor babyThe Boy is prone to abusing screen time past bed time.  This is a bad habit that has developed, and after last night, I know I need to do something.

Last night, The Man and I were awoken at a little after 2am by The Boy, pitter pattering about the house, doing whoknowswhat.  I got out of bed, caught him awake and bouncing around his room, and reminded him that after lights out, he was to stay in his room and sleep, unless he needed to use the bathroom.  “Oh yeah,” he said, “I remember.”  In the meantime, The Man had turned on the TV, which he does when he can’t sleep, and which also results in my not being able to sleep…  This isn’t going to work.

I had mentioned to The Boy several times in the past few days that once school started, we would need to re-institute “lights out” at 9:30pm (“lights out” doesn’t include his actual light – that stays on all night.  But I digress….).  I talked to him about school starting at an earlier hour this year, which made him nervous that we would bump back his bedtime.  I assured him that it would remain the same, but we really couldn’t be on the electronics all night long.  That really wasn’t gonna work.

This morning, I brought it up again.

“When school starts, your computer and your iPad are going to have bedtimes, too,” I said.  “But that means my iPad time will be limited again!” he replied, logically.  “Bedtime is for sleeping, and you shouldn’t be using your computer or your iPad past bedtime anyway, so it’s not really limiting your time.  We’re going to have to put them up for the night – their bedtime will be the same as yours.”

“Can they sleep right here?” he asked, indicating his bedside table with a twinkle in his eye.  I know that twinkle… “I think you might try to sneak and use those computers after bedtime,” I replied honestly.  “I won’t!!” he promised, but I know better.  “What happens if I catch you using it after bedtime?” I asked, reasonably.  He took a minute and then said, “Then you can take them and put them up somewhere else.”

Gotta love this.  Negotiating, advocating for himself, and determining his own consequences.

He’s growing up!

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A Bedtime (Social) Story

Evidence of The Boy’s rebellion from the night before.

As I was writing my post last night, a storm was brewing.  Not outside.  Inside my son’s head.  See, we just returned from three weeks in North Carolina, where he gets to spend some nights at Grammy’s house, and get ridiculously spoiled.  She is very proud of herself that she has instituted “bedtime”, and “lights out” at her house when he is there (as well she should be), but I’m pretty sure he is faking her out on the “lights out” part of it.  Sneaky little…

At our house, The Boy has to relinquish his iPad (and yes, it’s his, and yes, that’s a completely ‘nother post) for “lights out”, so that I can put it in my room “to charge” (wink, wink).  Because if he has it, he will be on it until he passes out, which results in a not-so-conducive morning routine, to say the least.  The boy needs sleep, and he has had problems getting to sleep for the past few years.

Needless to say, after returning from vacation, and getting away with all and sundry at Grammy’s house, he is having a bit of a, um, “transition” back to our house rules (translated: he’s being a holy terror on this point).

Last night, he screamed and cried (“But I’ll be BORED!!”), wouldn’t get into bed, and even went so far as to zip up his suitcase (which still has unpacked clothes in it from trip – so sue me), take it out to the side door entry, and announce that he was moving, and not living here anymore.  In the past, he has gotten as far as sitting on the step outside of the side door, at which point I think he realized that he didn’t have anywhere to go.  Actually leaving the house makes me nervous, as he used to be a bolter – one who would take off at a moment’s notice, and just RUN.  I cannot run (without huffing and puffing and showing the world how insanely out of shape I am), and so I have that fear.  That he will walk out the door and be gone.  So while I do my best to ignore the behavior that he is employing to get my attention, I can only ignore it so far.

Luckily, last night, he did not actually go outside.  Did I mention that this is all occurring at like midnight?  OK, more like 10:30pm, but it FELT like midnight.

At some point, I asked him if we needed a social story.  This is something that I have used with him to a pretty amazing degree of success.  It amazes me because he is such a logical kid, that a social story seems as if I am dumbing concepts down for him, but it works!  It helps that he has a love affair with PowerPoint, which is the program we use to write them quickly (he saved the 88 PowerPoints he made at school this year on a flash drive…), and it also helps to have him help write it (or at least pick out the pictures).  As we wrote this one on bedtime together, I could feel his breathing slowing next to me, and almost hear his brain working.

When we were finished, we read it together, and he went to bed.  Notice I didn’t say “went to sleep”, but I’m always OK with babysteps.

Have you used social stories?  Have you written your own?  How did it work out?