Project Ava ~ Must Sleep By Herself

A bit of history on our night-time ordeals… the kid is 4 years old and still crawls into bed with us before midnight. We only have a queen sized bed and it gets small fast – especially as she is
getting bigger and even more of a bed hog than when she was little! Ava’s sleep (or lack of) has been an ongoing issue since she was a baby. When she was 2 years old I wrote a post about deciding to give in and that it was nice snuggle time to get her to sleep. She was in her own bed all night.A few months later I wrote here about my hopes that by kindergarten she would be more independent. She starts this September.

So, keeping with this timing goal my husband and I both decided that we need to at least get her out of our bed and into her own – whether one of us joins her throughout the night is another story but we will go to her and get her out of the habit of getting into bed with us. Do you know how creepy it is to think you are snuggling with your husband and then realise it’s your kid’s foot?! We don’t even feel her get in the bed … she’s that good.

Okay, so back to how we are going to achieve our goal to get her out. We agreed to her having a sticker chart where she has to do three things each night that include:

  • Fall asleep in her bed (we’re going to work up to laying there 5 minutes on her own before she falls asleep because she uses us as a prop)
  • Stay in her bed all night
  • Wake up happy

My husband felt that she’s the kind of kid that would need immediate recognition to look forward to when she woke up to make it stick so, when she gets all three stickers she gets to go with Daddy to the Dollar Store and choose a prize.

How did the first night go? We implemented it on Tuesday night. We talked about each of the three steps and got her buy-in and her excitement. She did it like a dream. She got to put 15 stickers on her chart – I didn’t care because she was so darned pleased with herself. We couldn’t go that night for the prize so we’re planning it later in the week.

On Wednesday night when I was trying to get her to fall asleep in her bed instead of the couch I used the “if you don’t go in your bed you won’t get all 3 stickers. That means no prize“.

Do you know what the smart-ass said to me?

That’s okay, I’m getting a prize because I got all my stickers last night.”

How do you respond to that?! Do you see what I’m up against? Is it possible to start reproducing a less intelligent next generation? It’s downright embarrassing sitting there opening and closing my mouth like a goldfish in response.

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Elizabeth Ruth

Elizabeth is a children's book author and designer of knit and crochet character hats under the brand The Ruthless Crafter. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, spend time with her family, and swim. She lives a full, happy life in Kitchener, Ontario with her husband and their two children.

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  1. Well the good news is it worked once… so maybe you can expand the chart to 3 stickers a night for 3 nights before the next prize…and then a week… etc…
    My only other thought is instant gratification… go to the dollar store and let her pick out ten things … and then have them for the next ten times she wins a prize .. already there…

    hope tonight is better!
    BTW – I've linked back to your blog on mine today as part of a new Friday showcase I'm doing…

  2. Sounds like a good time to pull the "I'm your mother and I decide" routine!

    My daughter has been bribed with morning TV since age 3. She sleeps in her own bed and stays there until she sees a 7 on her clock to watch PBS in my bed. Worth it!

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About Elizabeth

Hi! I'm Elizabeth

Welcome to More Than A Mom, a space for daydreamers and creative thinkers who are obsessed with improving yourself, your home, and loving your family.

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