Ferber Again: Getting Kids Back on School Schedule

Here we go again, without the rails this time

Remember that torturous process of sleep training your toddler by putting him to bed and letting him cry successively longer each night before you did anything to comfort him? This was the Ferber Method, which was as hard on you as it was on him. The only thing that made it seem worthwhile was the promise of real, uninterrupted sleep for yourself at some point in his development.

So now we’re back to sleep training, only instead of trying not to go in and soothe a crying baby over longer intervals, we’re just nagging the kids to get to bed in progressively shorter intervals. If we don’t do it this week, there will be heck to pay every morning as we rush out the door.

Aren’t you amazed by how the routine has gotten out of hand? Even if you maintain a similar schedule in the summer, it’s impossible not to relax a bit about bedtime. Eight p.m. hardly feels like evening, and the kids certainly know the difference, especially when we are hustling them to brush teeth when it isn’t even dark yet. Older kids are almost impossible to wrangle to bed, and the Olympics have killed any efforts to wind down early.

It’s time to get your Ferber face on. Find that steely resolve that helped you deny the frantic sobs behind the bedroom door. This time, use it to ignore the pleas for five more minutes. You’re going to have to be the bad guy this week to have a pleasant, rested family next week.