Saturday, October 13, 2012

The bedtime ladder is back

There has been a spike in revolting behaviour in the house of late.  Somewhere towards the end of the school holidays, respect seemed to get lost amongst the biscuit crumbs and talking back and ignoring requests seemed to get a toe-hold with the little people of the house.  So we are bringing back the Bedtime Ladder.

Oh yes, folks, we are.

There was a gratifying look of stunned horror gracing the faces of our dear ones when this was announced at the dinner table. 

The Bedtime Ladder came to us via Nigel Latta's book Politically Incorrect Parenting.  In his book, it is called The Ladder of Certain Doom.  This is undoubtedly a much better title but we first started using it when our eldest two were only 6 and 4 so The Ladder of Certain Doom was felt to be a bit much.  We used it for a while and then dropped it when one child had a timed night-time medication which complicated things.


But now it's back and it feels so good.  We might break out into a little parenting remix of "Backstreet boys are back again..." just to celebrate.

Anyhow, the Bedtime Ladder is simple and wonderful.  You draw yourself a little ladder.  You make up some little cards with your offsprings' names on them and add a little blu-tac.  Everyone starts the day at the top.  If they start to cause trouble, you simply move them down a rung.  If they change their tune, help out a bit and smarten up, feel free to move them up again.  It's instant, it's visual, and it works.

Latta's book is really worth finding at your local library.  Be warned that it's got a bit of language in it, but it's outstanding for three reasons:

1.  It lifts some of the huge weight of parenting-guilt some of us carry around.  Parents make mistakes and it's usually pretty fixable unless you really did throw the baby out with the bathwater.

2. He presents clearly-explained tools.  I've read a pile of Christian parenting books that are mainly theory and theology.  That's helpful and good.  But sometimes you just need to know how to get Fred to eat those veggies so you can all move on with your lives.

3. It's funny.  Snort-into-your-cup-of-tea funny.  Which made me feel less like I was parenting the good ship Disaster.


12 comments:

Susie said...

Fabulous idea Deb.....I feel a ladder or three coming on! Does it work for big people as well??
S x

Gary Ware said...

Nope.
Big people are always looking for more reasons to stay in bed.
You'd have to get them up earlier in half hour increments instead.

Deb said...

:) That would work for me!

Deb said...

It's fabulous!

Karen said...

I like it :)
I think I'll give it a go. Thanks for the book recommendation too...

Petrina said...

Excellent :)

I saw a TV version of this a few months ago and loved it. Didn't know there was a book. I'll be getting a copy.

kdbkenyon said...

So have any of your kids ever been sent to bed at 4.30pm? I think 5.30 is the earliest e have done

Deb said...

Yes, I think in the first few weeks we were using it the first time we did have at least one 4.30 bedtime. We brought in a cheese sandwich and a glass of water at 6 pm. I think the mistake we made though was not having a "work your way back up" plan. In the book, Latta has a system for that. At the time, our kids weren't great readers so our little bag of jobs for earning your way back up fell flat pretty quickly. Plus, they were doing the jobs with a fair bit of grumpiness so it wasn't a great strategy for us. But this time around, we've said good behaviour is the way to go. We're looking for good behaviour (excellent sharing or reading to your baby brother) which might pull them back up. So then I have a quick way to discipline (I even do it when we are out and about - "you have just gone down the bedtime ladder when we get home, my friend") but it also encourages them to get out of their funk and start displaying some positive behaviour.

Deb said...

Our local library had it so that might be a good starting point. I haven't been able to see the TV version yet. I'd be really curious to see it given how much I enjoyed the book.

Deb said...

The book is good fun.

Mairi said...

RIGHT! That is IT! I am doing this TO-MO-RROW!

Deb said...

Hope it's a great day today then! :)