Testing Boundaries In the Sleep Regimen

We’re about three weeks into a new sleeping regimen for Harrison. It’s going pretty well, on the whole. He’s sleeping through the night (although it takes him a while to fall asleep many nights), and he stays in his room until his designated time (6:30am), even if he is awake.

For the most part. In the space of writing the above, he has opened the door to his room through times, and then shut it as soon as he heard me coming. In a game playing mood, he is.

Yesterday morning, I was doing yoga in the back sun room, with just he light from the street coming in through the windows. It was about 5:40. I looked over at one point (door just opened; I’m going to ignore it and see what…yup, he just shut it), and there was a silhouette of a tiny human standing in the dining room, watch me. He is learning the Stealth Mode of his toddler hood. I went over, walked him back into his room, and he stayed there until his wake up time (he’s playing in his room now, singing.)

When I reported this to Betsy yesterday, she noted she was napping on the couch while he was playing the other day. She noticed it had gone silent, and she opened her eyes to see him standing right in front of her, staring at her.

(He just opened his door again. I can’t tell if he’s out. Going to give it a second.)

(I was sure he was out, but he shut his door when I got within a few steps of his room.)

***

One of the key components of this new sleep regimen is to engage with him as little as possible when he comes out of his room before his wake up time. We don’t make eye contact. We gently take him by the hand, and escort him back into his room, and shut the door. No emotion. No pleas for him to behave. We have stuck to that by and large, except for a couple of occasions when it was clear he was game-playing, and wanted us to keep walking him back into his room for his enjoyment. In those cases, we (he’s out now…or at least his door is opened) have spoken to him, reminded him of this “sleep rules”, and expressed disappointment because “we know you can understand this”. I had no clue if this was going to work the first time we did it, but surprisingly, it works (for now.) (He’s back in his room with the door shut now.)

That component – as little engagement as possible – has been helpful. It makes things simpler: He has a job, to test his boundaries. We have a job, to enforce them.

He’s pushing them this morning, no doubt. But it’s 6:18, and he’ll be able to come out soon, and we’ll eat breakfast and listen to some music.

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