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Pressured to "be more flexible"
But my toddler isn't!


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#1 Guest_divineM_*

Posted 02 January 2013 - 12:00 PM

My DD is nearly 22 months and I have always been pretty strict with her routine. By that I mean that she has particular mealtimes and sleep times and I try to stick to them. I have often felt from others that I'm not flexible enough. It's true that I'm lss flexible than other mums it seems but that's because I have had PND and sticking to a routine helps me cope. It's also because being flexible then has consequences which I end up having to deal with. On NYE I decided to be flexible and because we had plans with others DD went to bed at 9 instead of 7.30. What followed was a horrible night with multiple wakings culminating in her wanting to get up at 4! She was then very tired and had a crappy nap. To me a couple of hrs of flexibility which results in little sleep and a bad day to follow are just not worth it. Am I being difficult? And are other toddlers more adaptable and at what age?

#2 Country (deci)Mel

Posted 02 January 2013 - 12:11 PM

Is this your first?

I noticed observing my friends with wee ones that the friend who had a first baby who needed strict routines was considered the OTT mother whereas our other friend who had a #2 who needed a strict routine was able to say "He HAS to do it this way or all hell breaks loose!" (with nodding from the 3 year old 'big sister' to back her up) was cut some slack.
Her #1 was a portable, flexible, cruisey baby (still is).

If you and baby NEED routine then just keep repeating - "I'd love to come/stay/do it but messing around with this child makes all our lives hell.  We'll fit around you where we can for now ok?"

#3 steppy

Posted 02 January 2013 - 12:15 PM

Only you know what you are willing to put up with OP. Generally the people who want you to be flexible don't have to put up with the tired child temper tantrums the next day. It's probably better to get your child a little flexible here and there but again, totally up to you.

#4 DS1979

Posted 02 January 2013 - 12:15 PM

I think you should just do what is best for you and your child and not worry about what other think. After all, no matter what you do there will always be someone who thinks you should do things differently!

With my 1st child I was very strict on his routine; he would eat and sleep at around the same times every single day and it worked very well for us. With my second child I had to be a bit more flexible otherwise I never would have left the house! But even to this day (and mine are now 6 and 4) we are still very into routines and find that if the kids know what's coming next (for example, dinner, bath, books then bed) they respond better to it rather than just doing whatever.

That said, I know people who have never used a routine with their kids and they have turned out to be great kids but each to their own; having a routine works for us and our kids so that is what we'll stick with!

So to answer your question, no you are not being difficult at all. Different things work for different kids so go with what works for you and your daughter and it's a win/win in my opinion. original.gif



#5 bluecardigans

Posted 02 January 2013 - 12:16 PM

I have never had any routines for my two. We are all over the shop and bedtime can vary from 8 to 11pm. This works for us.  I have had comments in the past that I should create more of a routine for my kids.

Do what works for you and your family. original.gif

#6 Citylovely

Posted 02 January 2013 - 12:18 PM

My DD was the same at that age. I have always been quite routine based with her and it was/is because it's what works best for her. If she went to bed after 7, even by 15 minutes it would be a nightmare. It is only in the last month that we have noticed she can stay up a bit later if her day sleep is late (ie goes to bed a 2pm instead of 1). She is 27 months.
Do what's best for you and your family. Some of my friends found it hard to understand why we can't go out sometimes but it works for our family, luckily I'm the first in my friends to have babies so generally they don't know any different  happy.gif

#7 Summer love

Posted 02 January 2013 - 12:33 PM

Oh I hear you - and my little boy is 3.5! He has always been in a routine, but I am only strict on the bedtime part now - pretty flexible with day sleeps etc. Every time I let him go to bed late - the next 3 days or so are hell! Read - pressured by relatives on a number of occassions to let him stay up until 9.30-10, followed by a very cranky boy the next day. The thing with DS is he wakes at 6am every morning without fail, regardless of bedtime. Even if he is up until 11, he is still up at 6am.

The other relatives kids we had (aged from 22 months - 6) that were also up late, were all still sleeping at 9am, while we  had been up since 6. All I could think was why me? LOL I defintely think all kids are different, and some kids are more adaptable, and also some become more adaptable as they get older - DS definitely is more adaptable now than he was at 22 months, but still not as adaptable as some other kids his age. It is him who isn't flexible - not me!  

So, I am with you! Some people don't understand it is you that ends you dealing with the consequenses (SP?) the following day!

Edited by ally4281, 02 January 2013 - 12:34 PM.


#8 michie0moo

Posted 02 January 2013 - 12:41 PM

Are they actually saying it to you or you just "feel" that they think your aren't flexible enough? I'm not trying to be dismissive of your feelings but sometimes perceptions are inaccurate.

Some kids go great on a fairly strict schedule (evidently yours), others don't. No one is doing it "wrong" or "right", just right for their kids. We don't run to a strict schedule, but we do have some consistent patterns (e.g dinner, and then bath, story, bed), but they aren't at exactly the same time. It works for us and trying to run to a time never made a lick of difference and just drove me batty. On the other hand, we have good friends who do run to a pretty tight time frame. It works great for them but if they are at someone else's house, their kids are flexible enough that they can run the exact routine where they are and the kids go to sleep until their parents are ready to go home, when they get transferred sleeping to car and home.

For now OP, just do what works for you and decide which occasions you wish to "live with the consequences" for and which aren't worth it.

#9 Crap Napper

Posted 02 January 2013 - 12:47 PM

It really depends on how easily you can let the anxiety about tomorrow's problems go. It you aren't likely to have any fun because you are stressed out about the next day, then it's not really worth it.

We were pretty uptight about routines for DS1 and DD1, but by the time DD2 came along I just couldn't accommodate her needs in the same way because we had commitments for the other two, and we just sucked it up. Yes some nights and days are hellish, but for us that is the trade off for having something vaguely resembling a social life. I guess one day I realised that a tired, cranky child is not a broken one - it can be easily fixed by a few quiet, routine-d days.

#10 Cranky Kitten

Posted 02 January 2013 - 12:49 PM

I agree with those who say do whatever works for you. Some kids are comfortable with and thrive on routine, others are more laidback and happy to go with whatever - you know your child best and what works for them. They won't always be this small and eventually you'll be able to relax the routines a bit as they get older.

FWIW, DS is somewhere in between - some days he loves his routine/rituals and wants things to happen at roughly the same time throughout the day, other days he's all over the shop and wouldn't know a routine if it walked up and kissed him. I do have particular rituals however, that clue him in to what's happening - things like bath, then boob/cuddles and lullaby before he knows it's bed time. It seems to work for him even when the time or location of his sleep might be different.

#11 Liv_FERAL_sh

Posted 02 January 2013 - 01:03 PM

I used to get this a lot from people when they were annoyed that I wouldn't just pack up the twins on demand whenever anyone else wanted to see them.

My standard answer was - you think I'm too strict you take over from me for a week and see what you think at the end of that!

We had a strict routine for about a year, then just a set nap and bed time....now they are 3.5 and don't nap and over the break they had some pretty late nights and early starts and were fine!

Do what is right for YOU, bugger anyone else! It's not them sitting up with a grumpy toddler at 2 am so they don't get to have an opinion!

#12 riva99

Posted 02 January 2013 - 03:25 PM

I'm the do what works for you team too.

My boys are 4 and 2 and pretty much same routine every day. Birthdays, Christmas, day care, kinder, interstate visitors, vacations, etc all has to fit into the that schedule.

It is just easier.

I figure when they hit primary school they will probably be able to cope with some changes but until then why mess with it. It's not forever.

#13 Tigerdog

Posted 02 January 2013 - 03:35 PM

QUOTE
Generally the people who want you to be flexible don't have to put up with the tired child temper tantrums the next day.


Yeah but maybe the tantrums are due to the fact that a routine has been enforced from birth therefore the child isn't adaptable and reacts accordingly as a result of this?  But generally I do agree that a routine helps and I don't really like to be out mine either!

#14 Ferelsmegz

Posted 02 January 2013 - 03:43 PM

Whatever works for you I say!

My DS was pretty good... would sleep anywhere - if he was tired he went to sleep.. he had a routine but it could be adhered to anywhere.

DD... OMG.

If you did not start her 'going to bed' routine at 5:15 LATEST there would be hell to pay!

5:15 - 5:30 solids feed
5:30 - 5:45 - bath
5:45 - 6:00 - bottle in bed
6:00 - asleep.

That was it... end of story. You could try and do something similar when you were out - but she kicked up a hell of a stink!

Even now if we are out past 8 shes asking when its time to go home because shes tired... and shes 5!

#15 Escapin

Posted 02 January 2013 - 03:55 PM

We ended up with DD (20mo) up until 9pm on Christmas Eve. Let's just say that Christmas Day was f*cking awful and not an experience I wish to repeat EVER again. So yeah, we have a routine and while the day sleep can get pushed out by an hour, if she's not down by 6pm (5:30 is her usual bed time), then god help me.

#16 Guest_divineM_*

Posted 02 January 2013 - 07:21 PM

QUOTE (Tigerdog @ 02/01/2013, 04:35 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yeah but maybe the tantrums are due to the fact that a routine has been enforced from birth therefore the child isn't adaptable and reacts accordingly as a result of this?  But generally I do agree that a routine helps and I don't really like to be out mine either!

It's not that she reacts badly while the routine changes. She loved being out and about till patron NYE! It's just that she does not know how to compensate for lost sleep, won't sleep in or have a longer nap. So ends up super tired and cranky from it.

#17 EffiesMum172

Posted 02 January 2013 - 07:29 PM

.

Edited by EffiesMum172, 03 January 2013 - 06:03 AM.


#18 mumandboys

Posted 02 January 2013 - 08:09 PM

I'm a big fan of routine OP, and I've had a toddler for the last 8 years or so.

I'm always home for naptime, and bedtimes are strictly adhered to (some flexibility with the older ones, but not when they were/are little).

For me, it works.  My kids are much more likely to be happy, we have less tired and grumpy faces, and now having 4 kids all with different developmental needs, I NEED predictability!!

I guess the downside is, it's hard to deviate when you want to - and you can't blame the child, given that you're raising them to expect certain consistencies.  For me the benefits way outweighed the occasional hassle.  But everyone's different.

Go with what works for you and your kids, and try not to worry about what other people think.  Opinions are like a-holes, and all that.

#19 beabea

Posted 02 January 2013 - 11:46 PM

As always it's give and take.

Some kids are definitely more adaptable than others (some adults, too). I think you'll find the evidence points to both nature and nurture (as with everything - proportions arguable and varying between individuals) but the "nurture" part takes time to kick in, and you have to be able to survive their natures in the meantime! Remember also (on the nature side) that the average kid follows certain developmental patterns, which include being routine-happy at around 18mo-3yo. It comes and then goes at least somewhat just with maturity.

Because of point a) above, it probably won't be like this forever (hopefully your PND won't, either) so try not to feel too much pressure. Especially if you have no firm evidence that people are thinking this way in which case it may be more self-criticism of the unproductive kind.

Alternatively, assuming your friends do have a problem with the way you're doing things, becoming more flexible may only be one solution and not necessarily the best one. Instead of taking a my-idea-or-theirs approach, perhaps you could respond by trying to more accurately define the problem and then work out a more mutually agreeable solution. You might be able to offer them a time or location that meets everyone's needs reasonably well (for example, inviting them over your place might work out better - and it's a solution which can only come from you).

If there's a really important event (like your NY party which you obviously thought was important enough) then you should absolutely screw the consequences and just deal with them later. I would be offended if I died and my best friend refused to attend my funeral just because it was her 2yo's nap time. Then again, I'd be dead, so maybe I wouldn't care. Anyway, it will often be less important to ask "should I be more flexible or not in general?" but "is this particular event worth the consequences?" Which is obviously what you're already doing, so, keep up with that.

If you have asked question one and decided the answer is yes, and you now want to nudge your child towards greater adaptability, one suggestion would be to do some pre-reading on techniques aimed at gently promoting adaptability and resilience. This is not necessarily a bad goal (I actually think it's a highly valuable thing) but it is a long-term one and in the short term I favour gentle nudging over giving everyone a nervous breakdown. (I guess I would always answer "yes" to the question "should I be working to help my child be as adaptable as possible, in the long run?" but this doesn't mean I ignored DS's leanings towards routine when he was younger).

In short, I think "bugger everyone else, please yourself" is as unhelpful as always, but neither should you cave to unfair and unreasonable demands and expectations. Everyone involved should try to appreciate everyone else's point of view.

Edited by beabea, 02 January 2013 - 11:54 PM.


#20 lozoodle

Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:12 AM

Just do what you feel comfortable, its your life original.gif

I was very much like that with my first, it helped me cope better I think. I had a struggle adjusting to parenthood.

With my second I was totally different as I soon realised if I revolved around routine for the kids I would never leave the house.

Just go with the flow and do what suits YOU.

#21 Guest_divineM_*

Posted 03 January 2013 - 01:00 PM

Thank you all for your replies. I know what the right answer is for me and my family. This was more of a vent I think. She is my first and like lazoodle I struggled to adjust to parenthood.


#22 Melanie_81

Posted 07 January 2013 - 01:23 PM

I too have/had PND and I found that a routine helped me cope with parenting (I think its also my personality type that prefers a routine too!). We found that we could be flexible up to a point - for example on NYE we went to a friend's house to stay the night, but DS1 still had his bath/bottle/book/bed routine and bedtime was the same as it always is. (Its helps that our friends kids had the same bedtime as well, so he wasn't missing out). However yesterday we decided to delay his nap, go to a friends house and put him down later to sleep at their house. The result? A short nap, a cranky toddler and an afternoon/dinner that wasn't much fun. I think some people's definition of flexibility differs from ours! The place of the nap may be flexible, but the time certainly isn't! Same with dinner. DS1 doesn't care where dinner is, as long as it is at the same time.
Good luck!

#23 Feral_Pooks

Posted 07 January 2013 - 01:34 PM

Oh how I hear you.

DS, until last week, wouldn't sleep anywhere but his cot. And ONLY if wrapped and ONLY with his dummy and ONLY if I did the going-to-bed routine with him and sit and pat him. Not in a pram, not in a portacot, not in the car, not in my arms, not in bed beside me, that was It. And the more tired he got, the less likely he would sleep. He would sleep well, but only with those conditions met.

He will now nap in the car for 20mins if exhausted. Sing Hallelujah!

He also has not handled car rides, although is starting to improve marginally on that front, I have driven an hour now without him screaming, in the past I had not gone longer than 15 without hysterics.

He also needs to be in bed by 8 or the next 24 hours are going to suck major... Round things.

I have lots of friends and family members who have not understood me when I insisted I could not travel 3 hours each way to visit them, could not go out for dinner with him and leave at 10, could not stay out all day at the shops...

I actually don't like routine, but I have learned to like it because DS likes it, and I like him not being a complete mess.

You do what works for you, OP.




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