Five More Minutes… with Netflix
Getting your children to go to bed can be a nightmare for some parents and actually getting them to go to sleep even worse. I know many parents who’s children still won’t adopt a consistent sleeping pattern resulting in still share the same beds with their children or simply just can’t get a routine together for various reasons, be it family circumstances such as jobs or simply through their own family lifestyles . I know others who are still no further forward 5 years on than when their little ones were under one, the list goes on.
Thankfully both of ours have settled into a bedtime routine after around 8 months onwards but that did come at a price. Mrs F and I are sticklers for routine so much so that it does at times rule our lives but not so much that we can’t vary from it where we see the benefit to ourselves or us as a family (its just seeing that benefit which can be tricky at times…
For the first year of both our children’s lives though we were very rigid with their bedtime routine:
- 6:00pm – Start quieting down
- 6:00-6:30pm – Bathtime
- 6:30-6:45pm – Bedtime story
- 7:00pm – Bed
I even write it in a rigid fashion but you know what, it worked for us. We once tried controlled crying but it lasted about a minute, dream feeds … never worked, “shhhh’ing” … didn’t work either. The only thing which seemed to be constant though was our bedtime routine and sure enough, both children started going all through the night from around the 8 month mark.
One thing which is starting to creep in now with H though is the “Five more minutes” or “diversion tactics” as I like to call them. These include but aren’t limited to:
- One more story? – As a minimum we read at least one story of his choice a night to him but he will try and guilt you into reading another one, personally if its a classic Julia Donaldson or old school one I don’t mind but sometimes he tries and convince me to go through the Mr Tumble Annual with him or the I spy book… good try son!
- Can I stay up late tonight? – As he has started school now, and the fact by the time Mrs F and I finish work, get in, cook tea, bath both children etc bed time is fast approaching and come Friday it feels like you have seen your children hardly at all so at weekends we will occasionally allow H to stop up to watch Xfactor or a film as a family on Netflix. He’ll normally crash out by 9pm resulting in me carrying his dead weight up the stairs to bed but he does try and see if he’s able to stay up more frequently than once every couple of weekends… good try again son!
- Daddy… did you know? – This is normally some kind of random fact or waffle in order to get us to stay in his room just a little bit longer after story time and prolong the inevitable, things like “Did you know that Giraffe’s have long necks?” or “I’ve got roast dinner at school tomorrow Daddy” random but strangely funny.
- Can I do a Show for you and Mummy? – H knows how much we enjoy him showing off his creative side and he loves to perform shows for us, whether that be using his Karaoke machine or popping on his Haven Holidays Funstars! T-Shirt and pretending to be a holiday rep.
To be fair to him though, even though we decline many of his requests he never kicks off or throws a tantrum, just talks to himself for the next 10 minutes in his room before falling soundly asleep.
For those that don’t though, Netflix alongside animation experts Dreamworks have come up with a nice spin off of their series titled DinoTrux, however all these episodes last just 5 minutes… The reason behind this is research carried out by Netflix suggests that 60% of parents out there DO have a battle on their hands to get their children to go to bed and often over 20 minutes is in fact spent arguing the cause. Well rather than arguing the cause now, as part of the negotiation tactic clever parents everywhere can agree to let their children watch an “entire show” of DinoTrux before the bedtime routine commences.
I will take this opportunity to say that I’m not averse to the “digital babysitter” as some call it, I think its in fact good to promote use of technology with our children in order to keep up with the trends and development however I do feel it should be monitored and restricted to certain times, certain apps etc to ensure it remains educational for majority of its use. That said free play time is very much a part of that so H will watch Netflix on the iPad or PS4 just as much as he would watch a programme on the TV. Where I feel these 5 minute episodes would come good is as a negotiation tool BEFORE the bedtime routine build up or as a reward for completing something such as homework, eating vegetables and even tidying his room (start him young).
It also means that Mum and Dad get five minutes to actually drink a hot cup of tea for once … oh wait, that is until we remember we also have another little one who needs us… or the washing… or the cooking… or the cleaning. Come on Netflix, invent something to conquer these too…
So if your looking for something to give an olive branch and not the whole tree next time the bedtime routine, eating vegetables etc, why not look up DinoTrux on Netflix for a hand… A whole episode which lasts just five minutes.
Do your little ones sleep properly? Do they try and negotiate like a true terrorist and hold you ransom? What are their “five more minutes” excuses….
Until Next Time
NB: I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam whereby I have been provided with a years family subscription to Netflix however all opinions expressed are my own.