I was reading a post from this blog titled Sleep Freedom: Letting Kids Find Their Own Sleep Pattern and i must say, i cannot agree more. The blogger writes that we should allow our children find their own rhythm rather than forcing them to conform to the clock or be subjected to our convenience. I feel this hold true not only for sleep but also other areas like academic learning and other milestone achievements.
If you've been reading my blog, you know that i am a big advocate of letting the child lead you in what he wants to learn i.e. letting the kid find his rhythm in learning. But you may not know that this applies to my parenting style in general.
I never believe in forcing the child to change his pattern just for us adults. Hence, i shun away from parenting methods like letting the baby cry to sleep or insist that the kid sleeps by 7 or 8 every night, Gina Ford books etc. I always let N lead me. As long as he isn't ready to do something or achieve a certain milestone, i wouldn't force him. I wait for him to be ready. I do that because 1) i believe if he is not ready, no amount of forcing will make him ready. 2) By forcing or so call 'training' him against his will or ability, it will only impose stress on him AND us, parents. I want him to achieve a milestone happy and stress free. 3) It would be alot easier to train him when he is ready. For instance, i waited for N to be ready to be potty trained. He was SO ready that he had minimal 'accidents' (like 3?) till today And there was no stress, no crying. I think alot of times, parents are very eager for their kids to hit a certain milestone early i.e sleep through the night, because they want convenience in their lives. I am different. I would rather change MY lifestyle to suit the child, rather than the child change to suit ME- which i think is alot harder.
So you can imagine i get criticised ALOT. For instance, people are always dumbfounded when i tell them N was nursed to sleep till he was 2.5 years old. Or perhaps unlike most 4 year old, mine still needs help with dressing up. Am i proud that he is hitting his milestones late? Not really.
But i just don't believe in forcing a child do something when he's not ready.There is a difference however, in NOT WANTING to learn and NOT DEVELOPMENTALLY READY to learn. I wouldn't tolerate the former but i'd loosen my reins if its the latter.
As i've constantly observe in my homeschooling journey with SonShine boy, everything will fall neatly into place the minute he is ready & interested to learn, or pick up a skill. Am i worried that he hits his milestones late? Not at all, i believe eventually he'd acquire the skills. I mean come on, have you seen a 35 year old man still needs his mother to nurse him to sleep? Or 28 Year old man bring his mother to his business luncheons because he needs to be fed? Or a grown up man with normal motor skills still needs help to put on his clothes? Enough said.
Lastly, i hold the same thoughts as the blogger when it comes to my kid's sleep. I know the 'RIGHT' way is to put the kids to sleep early and not let the kid take a long noon nap (least their bedtime gets pushed back). But again, I'm unconventional. I follow N's sleep pattern rather than doing it what the books say is the 'RIGHT' way. I never disrupt his naps, i always let him sleep as much as his body needs. This often means that his naps can run till 7-ish which means he sleeps late at night. But to me, as long as he clocks the total number of hours his body needs to rest, it doesn't matter if he sleeps late. Again, i think alot of parents want their kids to sleep early because of their own convenience- they want some night time to themselves. My husband and i think differently. We prefer the kids have some play time with daddy when he returns from home rather than for him to rush home only to put the kids to sleep.
So, can you tell? I'm breaking all the parenting rules!