Chil­dren’s bed­time rou­tines cause mom to lose sleep

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069.

DEAR ABBY >> After the birth of our son, “Ricky,” my hus­band in­sisted he sleep in our bed with us. When our son was 3, I fi­nally put my foot down be­cause none of us were sleep­ing peace­fully. Ricky is now 8, and my hus­band lies in his bed with him un­til he falls asleep.

Our daugh­ter, “Julie,” was born 2 ½ years ago. She slept in our bed un­til she was 1, when I moved her to her own bed. She goes down well on her own, but seems to be more clingy (with me es­pe­cially) dur­ing the day. I try to make sure she gets the af­fec­tion she needs be­fore bed­time, but I feel guilty that she doesn’t get that close­ness at night.

By the end of the day I’m ex­hausted, and I do not want to fall asleep in a kid’s bed. Am I wrong for want­ing bed­time with­out kids? At what age should chil­dren sleep on their own? — Sleepy in Cal­i­for­nia

DEAR SLEEPY >> You’re not wrong. Some par­ents co-sleep with their chil­dren for the first few months after they are born be­cause they en­joy the close­ness. After that, they tran­si­tion the baby to sleep­ing in a crib nearby so the child’s needs can be at­tended to as nec­es­sary.

Ac­cord­ing to Los An­ge­les pe­di­a­tri­cian Faisal Chawla, M.D., chil­dren form their sleep habits early: “The longer cosleep­ing con­tin­ues, the more dif­fi­cult sleep­ing sep­a­rately be­comes. At 7 or 8 months, ba­bies be­gin to de­velop age-ap­pro­pri­ate sepa­ra­tion anx­i­ety. By the age of 1, a rou­tine is usu­ally set in a child’s mind. By age 2, it be­comes very dif­fi­cult to change the sleep­ing rou­tine be­cause of the ‘ter­ri­ble 2s’ tem­per­a­ment that be­gins.”

Your hus­band has done Ricky no fa­vors by con­tin­u­ing to lie be­side him un­til he falls asleep. Your son should have started sleep­ing alone years ago. A boy his age should be able to go to sleep­overs at friends’ houses or away to sum­mer camp with­out hav­ing to worry about sleep­ing be­cause his dad isn’t there.

DEAR ABBY >> My boss and his wife re­cently hosted an em­ployee ap­pre­ci­a­tion din­ner party at their home. We have close to 100 em­ploy­ees, and be­cause of lim­ited space, we were asked not to bring chil­dren. How­ever, the in­vi­ta­tions did in­di­cate “and guest” (or our spouse’s or sig­nif­i­cant other’s name, if they knew it).

One of my co-work­ers, a sin­gle woman, asked me if I thought it would be OK if she brought a fe­male friend (not some­one she is in a re­la­tion­ship with). My in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the in­vite in this par­tic­u­lar sit­u­a­tion was that if one co-worker couldn’t bring their teenage child due to space lim­i­ta­tions, it wouldn’t be ap­pro­pri­ate for an­other to bring a ca­sual friend. To me, it seemed to be bad man­ners. What do you think?

— Ap­pre­ci­a­tion din­ner

DEAR AP­PRE­CI­A­TION >> When a host is­sues an in­vi­ta­tion that says “and guest,” it means the host is pre­pared to ac­com­mo­date whomever the in­vi­tee would like to bring. Ac­cord­ing to my in­ter­pre­ta­tion, it would be wrong to bring a teenager to an adults-only busi­ness-re­lated din­ner be­cause the younger per­son would likely feel out of place. How­ever, bring­ing a com­pan­ion along would not be con­sid­ered a breach of eti­quette.

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