Aren’t My Kids Too Old For A Sleep Post?

You’d think, wouldn’t you? What with the youngest being nine and all, that the issue of getting my children to sleep through the night would have been looooooooong ago solved once and for all? I’d thought so. But apparently, not so much.

Seems my younger two have been getting up in the night and finding mischief. First it was stuff like sneaking an iphone (mine) or a laptop into bed with them. Or sneaking downstairs to play on computers. Once husband found Luke standing in the family room by the desktop computer and Luke said he’d had a nightmare and was looking for us. That fooled us, for a few days, but then one morning I found a bunch of virus-y stuff on my computer and upon further inspection we discovered Luke had been playing on my computer in the wee hours of the night.

I was aghast and upset and angry and stupefied … and completely focused on the sneaky / lying aspect of the thing. I mean the boy just LIES. They just come flowing out like it’s nothing. Which is disconcerting and more than a little worrisome. I’m still working on the lying issue, though the latest advice I read said, basically, just don’t give him the opportunity to lie. Don’t ask him IF he did something or WHY he did something. Just say “I know you did X, it was a mistake and there are consequences.” Which really only works if I know for certain he has done something. So it’s not a total solution, but a beginning anyway.

So after that spate of nighttime sneaking of all things internet and game related, we password protected every darn thing in the house to the point where I can barely access my own stuff and figured, it’s done.

Except, the kids have been surprisingly sleepy lately. Like last Sunday, after getting a good 12 hours sleep the night before, they both fell asleep during afternoon reading time. (I send them to their rooms to read at what used to be naptime. The intention is NOT for them to sleep, but just to give everyone a break and a little quiet. And really, on a normal week, they do it maybe one or two afternoons.) And then on Tuesday, I had to take Luke with me to Drew’s dental appointment and Luke fell asleep in the waiting room chair. After what again should have been a solid night’s sleep.

So I asked Luke, “Why are you tired?” (this was before I read about not asking him “why”) – “Were you up to something last night?” And his eyes got wide and he said no, no, no, it was the cat. River, specifically. She’s an odd one, that cat, couldn’t care less about us all day long, but come nighttime suddenly she’s everyone’s best friend. Climbs in to bed all purring and sweetness. Also has a fondness for heads. As in, she will sleep smack upon your head. Sweet, but odd. And lately she’s been very drawn to Luke’s room. Sleeps on his bed, meows outside his door if its closed. (Which is not what you’d naturally expect, given some of the less than gentle things he’s done to her – before we had many stern talks and even forbade him to touch any of the cats for a while.) So when Luke said the cat was waking him, it was more than plausible.

My solution? Lock the cats up at night. In the bonus room, which connects with the laundry room where their litter box and food are. Problem solved.

Oh I am such a simpleton.

Last night, after taking lots of medicine for my raging cold, I woke around 1am with my throat just burning sore. I got up to make myself a cup of sleepytime sinus soother tea and watch a bit of tv. I was as quiet as possible, turning on as few lights as possible, so as not to wake anyone. As I sat there, drinking my tv and watching WKRP on the lowest volume setting, I heard someone walking around upstairs. Now, it’s spring break and I have a 16 year old son who likes staying up all hours to play computer games with long distance friends. So I didn’t immediately go check on him. But when I finished my tea, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to go upstairs and suggest to Drew that perhaps 1:30 was a little late and he ought to be going to sleep. But then I noticed Luke’s door was open. And he wasn’t in his bed. Maybe he’s in Leah’s bed, I thought. (They do that sometimes). But no… and she wasn’t in her bed either. What the what? Where did they go?

Guess where I found them. In the bonus room. Watching cartoon spiderman, on the big screen. Surrounded by cats. At one freaking thirty in the morning. Okay, it would have been cute, were I not so absolutely beside myself with frustration. Because you just know that wasn’t the first time they’ve done that, it’s just the first time they’ve been caught.

Sent them both to bed and then lay there for a good hour or so trying to figure out what the heck we do now. I mean, I can password protect the xbox so they can’t watch netflix, and I can password the cable box so they can’t watch that either, but good grief, where does it end? And if there are absolutely no screens to watch, won’t they just find some other means of middle of the night entertainment? Last year I found them playing in Leah’s room at 3am, with the lights and the radio on, like it was the middle of the day.

Who are these children? And why on earth don’t they sleep through the night?? And what am I supposed to do about it??

I’m not being facetious here, I really want to know. If you’ve got thoughts or advice, I want to hear it! How do I convince my 9 and 11 year olds that nighttime is for sleeping?

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3 thoughts on “Aren’t My Kids Too Old For A Sleep Post?

  1. Snort. This is hilarious and oh so frustrating. Maybe puberty will fix it? Or make it worse?

    What about getting Leah to side with you and wake you when he’s up? If there are more eyes on him maybe he won’t bother.

    Or in the same vein as the lying advice what about meeting him halfway? “I cant control your sleep but you must stay in your room and read/draw/whatever is appropriate after x hour”. Maybe just making it less exciting and taking away the sneak factor will remove the appeal and he’ll grow bored of the nighttime waking?

    Also don’t let him sleep during the day. Instead of reading time what about cleaning time or something physical that will wear him out? Beat him at his own game by making him too exhausted to stay up at night?

    Also you could have an honest conversation about why he’s unable to get back to sleep and if it bugs him and if he wants some help finding ways to cope with insomnia? Although he’s being sneaky the sleeplessness is all too familiar. And it can be super challenging to overcome.

    1. I actually did make sure to get the kids up before 9 today (their usual sleep in time, on weekends and days off) – and I dragged Luke out of his room this afternoon when it was clear he couldn’t read in his bed without falling asleep. I think you’re right, I need to get them more tired. And a boring nighttime option might be good too. Thanks for the advice! You sound like one who knows, from experience?

  2. Oh, my friend! I’m so glad to know we’re not on the only ones fighting this!!! We too have had to password protect every electronic device in the house and actually have seperated our boys because they egg each other on. Thankfully, some of it has subsided now that Alek is a teenager. Once he gets into bed around 10 or 11, he doesn’t want to be bothered. Our house is also too small right now for Nick to get away with much of anything. You can hear a pin drop in this place from any room in the house.
    I think Legos is right. Wear. Him. Out. That’s what we ended up doing last summer. Shad got Nick up at 5:30 a.m for a week and had him do a chore before eating breakfast. Then I had him running at the park, swimming or riding bikes during the afternoon. By the time supper came, he was nearly falling asleep in his dinner. We haven’t had a lick of problems since. 😉

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