Marcel Proust began his monumental In Search of Lost Time saying that for a long time he went to sleep early. I don’t have a cell phone for Proust and I can’t discuss this custom with him. But I do know a few of those planning parents who always proudly and assertively comment that their children are showered at six-thirty, have dinner at seven-thirty, and are already in bed at eight, with all the toys. collected and having brushed their teeth voluntarily. I have to confess that I have made a few jokes at their expense, because they seemed to me totally unnatural hours for Spanish customs, even though in half of Europe it is the most normal.
Just as there are map writers and compass writers (and when you read a novel with 200 pages left over, you complain a bit about the little planning of the authors who waste your time), there are also methodical parents and improvising parents ( that perhaps if we timed it they also waste a lot of time battling with the daily chaos).
For years, as my wife and I are self-employed, we were adapting our first daughter’s schedules according to the day. That she wanted to play more? Well, we played more. What was hungry before? Well, we gave him dinner before. That she was watching TV for a while and we had some urgent work to do at the same time that she would have to cook dinner? Well, we had dinner a little later. That she wanted to stay awake with us for a while? Well, we’ll wake her up later the next day. For us, as long as the girl ate and slept happily and without raising chickens, the situation was fine for us, and we didn’t need to keep checking the clock like a referee in a match. It is true that one morning the girl was lazy in bed and it was hard for us to get her up, but in general everything was very improvised and free.
But having two children, the seeds of lack of control grew little by little, because each one had their own rhythm. And they only ended up agreeing on their desire to watch TV… So we ended up trying the early version of having dinner and sleeping, and without screens after brushing our teeth (which we have all given in at times when they get insistent).
And I promise I won’t make any more jokes about organized parents. Because the thing works.
And although the first few days it was very strange for me to have dinner as adults at the time I normally had a snack, I have also ended up being grateful for having family logistics with two hours less exhaustion and synchronizing the processes. Instead of two dinner services like in a restaurant, the whole family ate dinner at the same time, and when the little one was already chewing, we ate the same dishes, which already frees up mental load and a little time to cook.
And then, repeating the same steps every day like in a ninja training session (teeth, sink, goodnight story, a little company by your side) makes us all internalize it and we don’t even have to think too much, or above all argue daily with children.
When accompanying them in bed, my wife and I continue to fall asleep the same as before, and the sudden awakening afterward, knowing that the table has to be cleared, the dishwasher to be put on and the dog to be walked, continues to make you lazy and makes you want to hide under the blanket for a few more hours. But at least for children, this routine helps them to rest more and better, make long stretches of sleep, wake up better the next day (avoiding all the ritual of having to get them up in a hurry and make them eat breakfast on the run)… And, of course , it helps us adults not to have to go after the children to insist on them all the time, like a prison guard who had to close the cells and do the count at the agreed time, with the constant threat of riot.
Of course, you have to remember to put the phones on silent, because friends without children continue to send WhatsApp at so many and it is very easy for the house of cards of the night routine to fall with any unforeseen noise.
Once this nocturnal calm has been achieved, the parenting model premium I would also ask to take advantage of our natural circadian rhythms and seek rest ourselves instead of forcing ourselves to watch an episode of that series that deep down we don’t like so much or staying up until dawn because we get furious with the nonsense of strangers on social networks.
When we get it I’ll tell you…
And, by the way, you, what time do you get them to sleep?
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