I love your website and most especially the really practical advice you give.
We have been using the consistent approach in our parenting schedule for both our children, Stephen, 2 and Abby, 5. We had huge struggles with bedtimes. It used to take us the whole evening to get our kids to bed until we discovered about being consistent. Then we realized it was our problem and not theirs!
Well, it has worked out really well and it really surprised us by not taking long to get them sorted. We also had lots of other power struggles too - things like not sitting still to eat meals, Stephen wouldn't get in his car seat, Abby would answer back rudely. But making a decision and then sticking to it has worked brilliantly for us and we are really grateful.
However, our Stephen has been really sick - a severe gastroenteritis kept him in hospital for almost a week and then he took ages to recover and come back to himself again.
It's been a worrying time for us all but he is well again now.
I feel its hard to be firm with him and feel I have lost a lot of confidence.
Is it usual for children to break back out of their good habits after illness? Stephen has stopped sleeping through the night and now I feel like we will have to start all over again to get him back down at a reasonable bedtime.
I feel really frustrated that he is waking lots and is really hard to get to bed again.
Reinforce a Parenting Schedule
Hi there Trish,
Thanks for your question.
It's great to hear of your success. It's always wonderful when parents say they have discovered that parenting schedules and routines with the consistent approach work well for them. Of course it does. Children thrive on order and routine and so do we!
You ask is it usual for children to break out of their good habits?
The answer is yes, it is not unusual for this to happen, especially with illness.
However, you at least know what works now and so you can set yourself to being clear, firm and consistent around bedtimes and night waking again. Become firm and consistent with routine and put a parenting schedule in place as you have before and Stephen will settle just as he has in the past.
Illness can not only change us but really unsettle our routines. Also if you have had a worrying time with sickness it sometimes feels difficult to be firm and stay firm. Our children quickly cotton on to this and try all sorts of subtle and not so subtle schemes to have more of our time and attention.
Once you are very sure in yourself that Stephen is quite well again, you will find it easier to maintain clear, consistent guidelines. Why not talk over with your husband some of the fears that have surfaced for you around Stephen's illness. Maybe you are having trouble being firm with him because of this? Take the time to examine your fears and worries about his illness.
Be sure to have some quiet time aside with Stephen and explain to him clearly that you are distressed because he isn't getting enough sleep. Tell him clearly what you expect from him - that he will go to bed at bedtime and that you expect him to do as you ask.
Then maintain your clarity and firmness and be consistent.Time To Boost Your Confidence and Self Esteem
Stephen will not have fogotten what he has already learned, but more probably has lost some confidence too, as you have. Give him lots of reassurance and tender loving times, but at the same time step back and help him to gain confidence through mistakes and 'roughing' it again.
It is hard not to be 'precious' with children after they have been ill, and I suggest they pick up on that very quickly. A consistent parenting schedule that is firmly maintained will help you both back on the right track again and bring back your lost confidence too. After the chaos of illness, a clear routine is soothing and healing for everyone.
I suggest you address your fears around Stephen's illness and hospitalization. Of course you have lost confidence because he has been so ill.
It is very frightening to be faced with severe illness in our children and we become so vulnerable. Talking your fears over with loved ones, friends and trusted listeners will help you to face them. Seek professional help if you need to. As you clarify these feelings and as time passes and Stephen settles again, your confidence in parenting will return.
Look after your own physical and emotional health too. Treat yourself with nurturing time out and be kind to yourself too. After putting all your mental and emotional energy into a sick child, it is very easy to become depleted and then to become ill yourself.
Be real with friends and family about your feelings of vulnerability and ask for the support you need to boost your confidence in your parenting schedule and in your self.Thank you for this valuable question about using a parenting schedule.
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