Michelle Duggar, the cheery matriarch of TLC’s popular show 19 Kids & Counting, knows a little something about establishing household routines and good habits. In her blog for the network’s Parentables channel this week, she answers a fan’s question: “Did any of your children have a problem settling down at bedtime or staying in their own bed for the night?”
Naturally, with that many children, bedtime issues are bound to arise every now and then. But Michelle explains that she makes a clear distinction between a child who has occasional problems staying asleep and one who digs in his heels when it’s time to get into his PJs.
“I am not a stickler about them staying in their rooms at night; I’ve never been really rigid about it,” she writes. “If one of mine wakes up in the middle of the night and comes pitter-pattering down the hallway to climb into bed with daddy and me, I love it. I don’t mind that a bit.”
Morning often finds several little Duggars cuddled next to their parents after a restless night.
Michelle takes a harder line with youngsters who raise a fuss about going to bed. Although many of her large brood are teen- or tween-age, she does have several younger than 10, and the littlest ones, Jordyn-Grace and Josie, are still preschoolers. To instill healthy sleep habits in her four- and three-year-old daughters, Michelle uses their afternoon rest period as a practice model. “We don’t just do nappy time. We do happy nappy time,” she explains.
Jordyn and Josie get a 15-minute warning when naptime is near, after which they’re expected to lie down without complaints or tears. To help them settle down, they’re permitted to sing softly (they “really like” singing to Jesus), but their head has to stay on the pillow at all times, or else they risk a talking-to.
The girls know that playtime follows naptime, so that incentive also helps keep them focused on the routine. “When they’re done, sometimes I’ll hear them wake up, and they’ll be singing to me, ‘Mommy, I’m all done. Happy nappy time’s all done,'” Michelle writes. “Then they get rewarded for being so good.”
It sounds as though an uninterrupted night is a rarity at the Duggar home, but Michelle doesn’t mind as long as the actual bedtime routine goes smoothly. And it’ll only be another decade or so before she and husband Jim Bob will be able to enjoy a full night’s sleep again!
[Photo: via TLC]
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