The Power of Choices

Guideposts just published my latest column, The Power of Choices.

I have Olivia’s crib still up in her bedroom. Considering she is only 18 months old, that may not seem so strange. But Olivia hasn’t slept in her crib for nine months.

When Olivia learned to stand up, her perfect sleeping habits instantly stopped. And in my sleep deprived state, I decided to join the ranks of co-sleepers. (My twin sister Susan has co-slept with both of her kids.) I put a mattress on the floor in her room and slept with her there.

Blissfully, we have co-slept for the past nine months. But the only problem with co-sleeping is that I need her to fall deeply asleep before I can leave her. (As much as I would love to go to sleep at 8:30 p.m., that isn’t an option in my life!)

Bedtime can be a wrestling match, with her sitting up and insisting, “All done” or “Go…go…” and grabbing my finger in an attempt to persuade me to give up and take her downstairs to play.

Enter the crib and the power of choices…

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  1. says

    Janice – The concept of choices worked SO WELL for me when my son was a toddler. As a first time mom, I was quite proud of myself for getting through the “terrible 2’s” without much fuss. My trouble came later though … At 3 and 4, Kiddo decided that he didn’t LIKE the choices I gave him and started asking for more options. If I said “you can have one carrots or corn” he’d say “what is my other choice?”. When I’d say there were no other choices, his stubborn streak would kick in and we’d be at an impasse. Yeah, those were fun days. NOT. ~LOL~

    But the choice thing REALLY DID work for quite a while, and I highly recommend it to parents of toddlers. It can save you from many battles. :)

  2. says

    I very quickly learned that kids like to negotiate everything! I give them two choices and that’s it. They still like to negotiate, but it never works. 😉

    Great article!

  3. Misha Akbar says

    LOL! This was such a relief. My son hates the crib and has been co sleeping with me ever since he was born. The crib is our storage solution now :-)

  4. says

    That is a good idea about doing the choices. I bet she is too cute when she is saying all done though. I co-sleep with my girls and have with them since birth. They are now 4 and 6 and we still co-sleep.

  5. says

    I love choices. It can calm my two year old down about almost anything. My husband still hasn’t totally caught the hang of it though. My daughter slept with me on and off until she was about 15 months. If she slept with me as a tiny baby she would sleep for 8 hours, so yeah I let that happen. Then at 3 months old my husband woke her up for the third time in 20 minutes and I said, okay crib time. It just worked. She came back to my bed off and on, maybe something to do with me breastfeeding for 18 months, who knows. She sleeps great now, in her toddler bed, but the crib stayed up in her room too, as a threat, or maybe choice i should say. Thanks for sharing!

  6. says

    That’s my favorite of the Love and Logic books! I knew we were onto something good when we were getting out of the car one day and one of my boys asked, “Dad are you going to carry my coat or my cup for me?”

  7. says

    I never thought I would still be co-sleeping by the time our son turned nine months. It was always the plan up until a certain point, but we intended to have him in the crib by six months. HA! Little did we know that this ‘plan’ was subject to his iron will to cuddle up in between us every single night. I love to cuddle with my hubby, but it is really sweet and heart warming when our little babe sleeps between us with his arms stretched out so he can touch both of us at the same time.

  8. says

    The Guideposts site requires a log-in to comment so I’ll comment here instead.

    That was an excellent article. In fact, I think this “gig” for Guideposts has really brought out some of your very best writing, Janice. You have a wonderful way of sharing meaningful life lessons in concise, easy-to-read articles. Thank you.

    We strive to use “choices” in our home too (although I’d like to do it even more than we already do). It’s a great way to give toddlers and preschoolers a “voice.” I really have to read that parenting book that you mentioned. I have heard quite a few good things about it.

    Also: I just wanted to point out that we do the “mattress on the floor” thing with our 2-year-old too. It was a little harder when she was around 1 because I would stay with her until she fell into a deep sleep, but now that she’s 2 1/2, she is going to sleep much better on her own. All that to say…it could just be a brief “season.” When you’re in the midst of it, it seems like it’s taking forever…but then you look back and realize you miss those sweet snuggles and those precious pleas to “sleep with me, mama!” :)

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