Keep Those Fingers Safe and Those Nights QuietJul 06, 2023
I love using problem-solving strategies in my parenting and teaching other parents these skills (see Love, Balance, and Problem Solving and Solve Your Parenting Problems in 5 Steps). I also think good sleep hygiene - the routines and sleep environment that help you sleep soundly - is of the utmost importance (see Master Your Child’s Bedtime Routines and Is Your Child’s Room Conducive With Sleep?). And safety is, of course, a priority for all loving parents. So I must share with you the solution to two problems we used to have in our house that was easily found with one inexpensive purchase.
First, little kids love playing with doors, and my body tenses every time I hear a door slam for fear that one of the 40 little fingers in our house may have been crushed.
Second, big kids who are out of diapers sometimes need to get up to use the bathroom at night. When they are first getting into this routine, they may need your assistance, but over time this becomes something you do not need to help with, nor do you need to have your sleep interrupted by this activity. Despite coaching kids on gently closing doors, groggy munchkins used to sometimes wake us up with the clang of doors in the middle of the night.
We put our problem-solving skills to use to help get our quiet nights back. As a reminder, the S.O.L.V.E. problem-solving steps are:
- State the problem.
- Options: List all possible ways to solve the problem.
- List the pros and cons of each possible option.
- Very best one: Select the option that seems best to try first.
- Evaluate the outcome. Try another option if necessary.
As part of the process, you want to brainstorm all ideas, no matter how silly they sound. We thought of everything from leaving a towel on the floor to block the door from slamming to limiting beverages in the hour before bedtime to minimize the need to wake up to use the bathroom during the night. Ultimately, an Amazon search lead me to the perfect solution.
If you have ever dealt with these issues, I suggest you look for some foam door stoppers. They’re shaped like a U and sit upside down on the top of the door - or on the side if you want the kids to be able to reach them. Ours have cute animal heads on them and come in fun colors. They’re practically silent if someone slams the door, so I don’t have to worry about fingers and get a better night’s sleep!
The problem solving steps are great to teach your kids too. They encounter problems daily, especially in their interactions with friends and siblings. Teach your kids these steps to help them solve their own problems. Instead of running to break up every fight between the kids at our house, I’ll often holler, “Be a problem solver!” to help inspire them to work through their own problems using the same techniques I use.
This was a relatively simple problem to solve and therefore made a great example to run through with the kids to help teach them the problem-solving steps. Problem solving is an important critical thinking skill for children to develop. Ultimately, the problem-solving process becomes ingrained in your thinking patterns, and you start to naturally follow these steps whenever you encounter a tricky life situation. With younger kids, it’s helpful to write down the steps and have a visual guide. See what little problems you can solve this week with your kids to train their brains to become excellent problem solvers!
Problem solving for parents is part of the Check Yourself category in my 5 C’s parenting framework (see The 5 C’s to Amazing Parenting), and teaching kids problem-solving skills falls under Choices & Checkpoints. To view more posts in these categories, use the category search menu on the right of your screen. Keep up the good work on your amazing parenting journey!
P.S. On the topic of sleep, if you have an infant or toddler who is still waking during the night and the idea of getting a good night’s sleep sounds like winning the lottery, be sure to check out my step-by-step sleep training process detailed in my Masterclass: Sleep Training. You'll learn everything you need to know to get your child sleeping through the night!
On my Treasures - Sleep Training page, you'll find a list of essential products to simplify your sleep training experiences.