Sometime deep into the second week of school, my second grader, kindergartener, and terrible two-er hit the proverbial wall. Their bodies were tired, their brains were fried, and dealing with them felt more like hostage negotiations than parenting. I was out of tricks, out of patience, and had resorted to yelling (we all know how well THAT works). And then it came to me: we need a reset.
I pronounced it “Reset Night” and explained to my wide-eyed dictators that we would be eating dinner and accomplishing our nighttime routine a full half-hour before their normal bedtime. No playing outside with the neighbors after dinner, no half-hour on the iPad, not even the requisite 20 minutes of reading for homework (sorry Mrs. H and Mrs. D, if you’re reading!). I granted them immunity from that day’s transgressions and assured them that their slates would be wiped clean. After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, they resigned themselves to their fate.
When the clock struck 7:30, miraculously, everyone was fed, bathed, and lying in their beds. I think deep down they knew they needed sleep, and within minutes, they were gone.
They weren’t perfect angels the following day, but there was a marginal improvement. And my husband and I had followed suit and went to bed earlier ourselves, so we also got the benefit of a reset.
The lesson? Maybe we just all need to stop and acknowledge when the train is running off the tracks and correct course before there’s anymore casualties. And it’s not just a good parenting move—I’ve found myself several nights in need of an extra half hour of sleep, or a glass of red with an hour of uninterrupted Kindle time. For my husband, reset looks more like staying up late and watching that superhero movie that he’s been dying to see and knows I will never agree to.
So, next time you find yourself smack-dab in the middle of it, consider giving the offending party a reset night, and don’t forget to include yourself!