How to Give Super Nanny a Run For Her Money

(So, what are you thinking about my How-To Week so far? Is it a keeper?)

When my grandmother passed away, I inherited a lovely master bedroom set. The king -sized bed frame and mattress was a timely blessing as I met my future husband only a month later and would soon be in need of a matrimonial resting place. As grateful as I was for my inherited bed set, the twenty plus year old mattress was a little funky to sleep on, especially considering it came complete with body shapes already permanently formed on each side. As much as I loved my grandma, it was weird.

A few years later, we were able to afford a new mattress. Life just doesn't get much better when you have a new comfortable mattress. Especially a king-sized comfortable mattress. It didn't take long for our kids to realize this either and ever since we've spent few nights alone in our inherited/new/king-sized/comfortable bed.

I am a bed hog and I like my space, especially if it involves getting a good night's rest. I HATE having the kids in our bed. So, I set about devising a way to stop the sleepy stowaways this summer.

We had tried many other tactics, even Super Nanny's technique of repetitively taking them back to bed. We had tried the whole school of thought to make the night time visitors take a spot on the floor by our bed. They didn't care. They would curl up on the floor and as soon as we drifted off, they would sneak into our bed. We tried gentle reminders and angry demands. Nothing worked.

One day, it dawned upon me. It was so simple, I initially figured it wouldn't work. But wonder of wonders, miracles of miracles...IT DID! Take THAT Super Nanny!

How to Stop Co-sleeping in its Sleepy Little Tracks:

I have a few dry erase boards on my fridge. I told the kids that each night they would stay in their own beds ALL night that I would give them a star. After they had each earned seven stars we would go as a family to the local swimming pool that they had already been begging to go to.

They were instantly on board...until the middle of the first night when they both came creeping in, steadfast in their bad bed habits. After a few reminders of the star system and a few return trips to their bedroom, they started to catch on.

The next morning they anxiously asked if they could have a star. I'm a stickler. No stars for that night. They realized I was serious though and they tried harder the next night. Dee successfully stayed in his bed ALL night. Jeigh...not so much, but when she saw that Dee got his first star the next morning, she resolved to try harder.

Over the course of the next two weeks, they both earned all seven stars. As promised, off to the pool we went!

I was so proud of them for showing some self-control, discipline, and responsibility for their actions. And I was pretty proud of me for figuring out such a simple solution to end our sleep struggles. No money spent. No complicated charts (which I wouldn't have known how to make anyway). No spanking or anger.

And the idea stuck for several months after. To be honest, they are slipping back into their old wee-hours wandering ways, but now I know what I can do to stop my little sleepwalkers.

Give it a try! You will be amazed at how simple manipulating controlling helping your kids to overcome bad habits can be.


Lind Family said...

Great idea! I should totally try that!

Jodi said...

Yay for you! I don't know what I'd do without my kid free nights -probably be a lot more crazy than I already am now!!:)

For the past several years, we've used a similar method for rewarding positive behavior. It also involves a simple chart on the fridge. We use stickers and I have a "treasure box" with simple things like key chains, pencils, bracelets etc. When we notice them helping without being asked, saying please or thank you etc etc they get to put a sticker on. After 6 stickers they get to pick out of the treasure box and then we start all over. It has been the best thing I've ever done! I started this after my kids started believing consequences were only negative. I wanted them to "see" positive consequences. Anyhow, I've been accused of bribery but my mother in law says it's called encouragement and I like that phrase better!:)

Mamarazzi said...

glad to see it worked for you.

i love having a big bed and i really like my space, but i will admit i got really sad when my nephews all grew out of sneaking in to our bed when they would come over each summer. even if i did usually end up with someone's feet in my face.

they grow up too fast!

shortmama said...

I so know what you mean! Sometimes its the simplest things that get kids motivated to change their behaviors!

Parry's :) said...

Simple charts are always the way to go!! I have a few of them, each with their own rewards.
I like the treasure box idea, I think I'm going to look into doing something like that too. It would probably help out with some issues I'm having with some of the kiddoes I am watching!
I have one for going shopping, just an idea to throw out at you. I talk to the kiddoes about it and then while we are on our way I remind them of it and then one more time as we are heading in. Talking to kids and letting them know what is expected out of them helps out a lot!!!

Myya said...

I completely know the feeling of little wee sleep companions. Aziza has gotten better so I really can't complain all too much. I wish that simple chart would work for potty training. This kid is NEVER going to potty train! Ugggghhh!!!

MiMi said...

That's awesome! I bribe my kids with treats if they do well all the time.

iamwoman said...

Kai comes into our bed every night around 4am. I'm so out of it that we don't even notice it anymore. But I was just thinking this morning how we need to figure something out, and this is brilliant, as always;)

Lisa said...

AWESOME! Luckily my kids don't have that exact problem, but we do have a few other night 'rituals' I would like to rid them of. Thanks for the idea!

Sami said...

My kids have never been allowed to sleep with us. I think I must be mean. We only have a queen sized bed, and the few times they have snuck in with us, Roon has ended up on the floor. So, now they know that they can sleep in our room, but they have to stay on the floor.
Glad you found an idea that helped break the habit! I think I always try to make things too complicated. Simplicity seems to be the way to go...


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