The Bedtime Blues

This is one of those posts that I start with a disclaimer. This means that I was offered something cool and I took it, because life is short and cool things are not as plentiful as I would like. This time the cool thing I was offered was membership in the Netflix Stream Team. In exchange for writing about Netflix I received a free subscription for a year and an iPad Mini. The opinions in the post are my own, but take the free gift part of it as you will.

My children’s bedtime is both the best and worst part of my day. I think many parents can probably relate.

On the upside, kids are at their cutest when they’re sleeping. This is indisputable. No matter what happened all day, no matter how annoyed you were with your child just 10 minutes ago, no matter how frazzled your nerves, it’s all forgotten when you see your sleeping baby. And it doesn’t even matter how old that baby is. My daughter is almost 11, and her sleeping face is still one of the sweetest sights in the world for me.

bedtime sleeping

Bedtime is also a time to slow down and re-connect with your children. There are stories and snuggles, footie pyjamas and clean, soft skin fresh out of the bath. (Maybe not so much with the footie PJs anymore in my world, but you get the drift, right?) I have some of my best conversations with my kids when I’m tucking them in, as we contemplate the meaning of life and compete over who loves the other one the most. My kids always one-up me. I may love them to the moon and back, but they love me to the moon and back times infinity. Eventually I let them win, but I know the truth: they can’t even begin to understand how I feel about them.

Of course, bedtime can also be incredibly aggravating. There are the kids who won’t put on pyjamas, who won’t brush their teeth, who won’t sit still for a story, who won’t get into bed, who won’t stay in bed, who just can’t fall asleep, who need another snack, another drink of water, another hug. Some of my hardest parenting moments have happened at bedtime, after spending 90 minutes with a two-year-old who still isn’t asleep while I think about the sink full of dirty dishes I still have to wash and the article I still have to write.

To top it all off, my kids have different sleeping styles. My daughter is a night owl and my son is an early bird. I am a math whiz, so trust me on this: 1 kid struggling to sleep at night + 1 kid who wakes up before the sun = 2 cranky parents.

bedtime

No one ever said parenting was easy, and that’s never more true than at 9:30pm when your child is still awake and everyone is beyond exhausted. Or at 6:00am when you’re just not ready to be awake yet and your toddler won’t sleep anymore. Luckily, my kids are old enough now that they can wake up and entertain themselves for the most part. I don’t like them to have too much screen time, but the day when they learned how to wake up and turn on their favourite TV show themselves was a pretty sweet one for me, I confess.

As a member of the Stream Team I get news updates from Netflix. They recently conducted a global survey around bedtime and found out how Canadian bedtime stacks up against bedtime around the world. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • 79% of parents worldwide are willing to make compromises with their kids at bedtime, spending an average of 20 minutes per night negotiating with them to go to bed.
  • 85% of Canadian parents agree that the last snuggle is the best (vs. 87% globally).
  • 40% of Canadian parents have faced the “just 5 more minutes” negotiator (thankfully I am in the 60% here!).
  • The stall tactics of Canadian kids results in 13.2 additional minutes added to their bedtime routine (vs. 15.7 minutes globally).

Apparently Canadians are also less likely to give in to stalling tactics. I can’t say I’m that good at resisting. One of the things that I run into with my own kids is the dreaded, “But my TV show is almost finished!” For me the extra 7 minutes spent watching a show is usually outweighed by the fact that my kid will be more cooperative. One option if you have a similar kid on your hands is Dinotrux 5 Minute ‘Favorites’ from Netflix and DreamWorks. Shorter shows = less stalling = happier parents. At least in theory. It’s worth a try, right?

Aspiring Talk Show Hosts

This is one of those posts that I start with a disclaimer. This means I was offered something cool and I took it, because life is short and cool things are not as plentiful as I would like. This time the cool thing I was offered was membership in the Netflix Stream Team. In exchange for writing about Netflix I received a free subscription for a year and an iPad Mini, and some other fun stuff. The opinions in the post are my own, but take the free gift part of it as you will.

netflixEarlier this month a box arrived on my doorstep announcing the debut of The New Mr. Peabody and Sherman Show on Netflix earlier this month. On the show Mr. Peabody and Sherman host a late-night talk show, with important historical figures as guests. My son, who is seven, loved-loved-loved the Mr. Peabody and Sherman movie, so he was excited for the show right away. The box also contained some talk show props, which definitely upped the ante. Because, you know, fun stuff.

The good news is that my son enjoyed The New Mr. Peabody and Sherman Show, and finished the first season within about a week or so. My daughter, who is 10, watched an episode and said it was good, but she prefers other shows. She says The New Mr. Peabody and Sherman Show would be really good for kids between the ages of four and eight. In the interest of honesty I will confess that I haven’t seen it myself so I can’t say, but my son is smack in the middle of that wheelhouse so I suspect my daughter is right.

One of the things that both of my kids really are into, though, is YouTube videos. Like a lot of kids their age they play Minecraft, and then watch YouTube videos of other people playing Minecraft. Although they are both too young to create their own YouTube channels, they have both decided what their usernames will be when they are old enough. It’s also pretty common for them to practice their sign-ons and sign-offs, and narrate the events as they play Minecraft. Apparently this is something lots of kids do now, according to my friends.

Although my kids are too young to have YouTube channels, I am not. So, we decided that we could make a video together. They used the talk show props we got from Netflix to create their own Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show. Do you want to know what Mozart’s favourite contemporary song is, or who Cleopatra would like to meet? You’ll have to watch the video.

Netflix Newbie

This is one of those posts that I start with a disclaimer. This means that I was offered something cool and I took it, because life is short and cool things are not as plentiful as I would like. This time the cool thing I was offered was membership in the Netflix Stream Team. In exchange for writing about Netflix I received a free subscription for a year and an iPad Mini. The opinions in the post are my own, but take the free gift part of it as you will.

netflixThe truth is that when I got the email in my inbox offering this opportunity I jumped on it because I have wanted Netflix forever. And so have my children. I had seen it at other people’s houses and even in my dentist’s office, and I knew I wanted it for myself. Plus I’d heard good things about shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. So, whether I had been offered this or not I would likely have jumped on the Netflix bandwagon at some point. It was really only a matter of time.

We don’t have Netflix on our TV yet because we’re waiting for the new Apple TV to use as a streaming device. In the meantime, though, we’re all watching it on our iPads. And a not-so-small part of me is lamenting the fact that every member of my family has an iPad (the kids got our old ones after my husband and I upgraded). Remember when I was TV free for two years? The mighty have fallen, and we’re consoling ourselves with TV and movies. I’m looking forward to when we can actually sit together as a family and enjoy some flicks, because I think that will feel better. A family movie night is in order, with popcorn and candy and all that jazz. And when I say “candy” I mean “Twizzlers” because those are the best movie candy hands-down.

Anyways, now I have it and I love it and my kids love it and even my husband (the lone voice who was sort of meh on Netflix) has watched it and enjoyed it.

I like that I can set my kids up with their own user IDs, and configure those user IDs to reflect the fact that they’re kids. The shows that are suggested to them are appropriate for children under 12. I was worried that there wouldn’t be anything that would appeal to my daughter Hannah as a 10-year-old but there are plenty of shows and movies that she likes. She’s watched Ever After High and Anastasia and Dear Dumb Diary. My 7-year-old Jacob has also found some new favourites, mostly involving superheroes. He’s also very much into The Adventures of Puss in Boots, which is a Netflix series.

So far I have watched some movies (I am happy to say that I am now up-to-date on the Hunger Games) and I’ve started The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. As a Netflix newbie, though, what I really want is your recommendations. Help me out!

netflix question

I haven’t seen a single episode of Scandal, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black or The Walking Dead, and I’m considering starting all of them. I don’t want to have too many going at once, though. Which one do you think I should try first? My brain needs a break from school, and I’m counting on you to help out. Or if there’s another series that you think I really must see, I’m open to hearing about that, too. Just let me know!

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