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February 16, 2015

When Mr. Sandman Meets Mr. Salesman

Hal photo outside Feb2012“Anyone who thinks the art of conversation is dead ought to tell a child to go to bed. ” (Robert Gallagher)

There is something especially pernicious about bedtime issues. The kids are tired (although they sure as heck won’t admit to it), you’re tired (and you certainly have trouble hiding it), and like oil and water – these two things just don’t mix.

I think children are afraid that all of the good stuff in life happens after they go to sleep. They will pull out all the stops in order to squeeze out a few extra minutes. Before the bedtime announcement, a child can be as content as can be. Afterwards, they suddenly are in need of water, a snack, a book, more time for homework. They move in slow motion as they clean up (if they even do) and they find any excuse in the book to engage you in a conversation as to why they aren’t tired. It can be so aggravating.

But aren’t we much the same? How many times have you been on your way to bed only to be lured to the glow of the television or the hum of the refrigerator? How many times do you know that you need to get some sleep, but you remember an important email you forgot to send? Too often, we expect more from our children than we do from ourselves. And this leads us to treat them with disdain and disrespect. Recognize that they are not all that different from you. Their lego project is every bit as important as your sales proposal, so don’t spring bedtime on them and expect them to drop everything and run upstairs. Start the bedtime process way earlier than you think you need to (for both of you!) and that way you can actually enjoy yourself along the way to dreamland.

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