Bedtime battles all over again

Jul 24, 2008 at 11:25 p.m. ET

One of the great things about summer is the looseness of the long hot days. It's wonderful to be able to let the kids play into the yard until late without the worry of school the next day. In the joy of the warm summer air, I forgot something, though, and that is that Sunshine really needs her bedtime structure. Yes, bedtime battles are back.

Even with the full and exhausting summer days, Sunshine has been resisting bedtime mightily. Asking for more stories, getting out of bed, wailing when she doesn't get her way. What should be 20 minutes, 30 tops, it taking close to an hour and a half some nights. At first I put it off to great summer days; I understand the feeling of not wanting to let go of a good day. I feel that myself! But I also can see that she is tired - very, very tired. Perhaps the overtiredness is playing into the issue.

Back to basics

I find myself having to cut short our summer evenings to reestablish the bedtime routine. That makes me sad. But the crankiness that results from Sunshine's off kilter sleep makes both of us sad and not a little bit short-tempered. Time to suck it up and go in early.You know, I know this issue. I do. I know that my daughter does well when we keep to the routine. I should rephrase that: I know better that to assume we can through most of the bedtime routine out the window without consequence. I've learned this lesson before with the boys, yet here I am learning it all over again.It's not that I forgot, I just got caught up and maybe a little lazy. It seemed easier not to be consistent about bedtime in the long summer day. But, oh, I am paying now.

Lessons learned, and relearned

Clearly, I know what I need to do to reestablish our bedtime routine, and over (hopefully short) time it will resolve itself. I think the bigger issue for me is reminding myself of parenting lessons I (theoretically) already have learned, and applying them. It's about not getting lazy in this parenting effort. I still have a long, long way to go, after all.