This past week we had a 4 day weekend. I decided to use the time to get a little information from my kids. Sweetie Heart has been asking if she can set her own bedtime. I have told her there are certain things she needs to be able to do before she can. A few of those things are : getting herself up on her own, being ready to leave the house on time, going to bed when she's tired. Pretty basic stuff. She hasn't been able to get herself up yet, but she has been getting ready on time.
This weekend I decided to see if she could go to bed when she was tired. So during family meeting I told both girls that there wouldn't be a bed time on Thursday or Friday. The look of delight was beautiful. There were many promises of getting along and going to bed at a reasonable time.
BUT...here's how it played out.
Thursday night we read scriptures and had family prayer at 6:30, which is when we usually do it. Then we let go. The girls got ready for bed and then came back downstairs and played. And played. And played. Sweet Girl sat with Webby for a bit while he studied. Sweetie Heart read a book. Sweet Girl got out toys to play with. Sweetie Heart came downstairs to see what everyone else was doing and to make mischief with her sister.
At 10pm, Sweetie Heart said, "I'm going to bed."
Sweet Girl said, "Not me!!"
Webby and I both said, "Me too."
So Sweet Girl said, "Oh, all right. I guess I will too."
When I went up to tuck them in Sweetie Heart said to me, "I stayed up too late. But it's really hard to go to bed when Sweet Girl is still up." Very good information! Sweet Girl probably would have stayed up until she fell asleep where ever she was, in the middle of playing. Now I know that neither of the girls are really ready to pick her own bedtime for now. I didn't really think they were ready, but as you can see from previous posts, I have been wrong before. So now I have good information. For Sweetie Heart equality and what others are doing is more important then what she feels she needs. Sweet Girl just wants to go and go. But she doesn't want to be by herself when she does it. It was clear to me that both girls were tired by 8:30 or 9. But when given the freedom to choose, for the first time, they pushed themselves a bit too far. But I was true to my word. I let them stay up the next night as well. They stayed up with us until we went to bed at 10pm again.
What I learned was they are not ready to set their own bedtimes. They aren't will to listen to listen to the signals their bodies are making telling them they are tired...yet. So during the next break I will give them a extended bedtime instead. We will try it out again another time.
When I sit back and observe my kids, they will give me all the information I need. They know better what they are capable of then I do. They want to stretch themselves and learn new things. It's my job to say yes, to observe and to guide as needed. When I do this I am amazed at how capable they are. Sweet Girl peeled and cut up a carrot using a sharp knife today, simply because I said yes. Sweet Girl made a wacky cake from scratch for dessert tonight, because I said yes. I have to do a lot of back tracking right now. I'm very used to saying no, there isn't enough time, blah, blah, blah. What I'm thinking is, I don't have the patience to help, teach. Whatever, that's my problem not hers. Is it any wonder that when I ask her to help me she doesn't want to do it? So, often I am saying no and then turning around and saying yes. No is easy to say, yes is a lot harder. But, you know what? Yes is so worth it!!