No screens before bed: from total failure to celebrating small wins

Last time I wrote, I was really struggling with this month’s goal of turning off my screens 30 minutes before bed (and really, the recommendation is an hour before bed so I’ve been aiming for half the recommendation). I have such a well established habit of watching light-hearted comedy shows until I can’t keep my eyes open that to cut that out and replace it with something else was not happening.

By bedtime, my willpower to change was low, I wanted to see what happened in the next episode, and no amount of reminding myself my reasons for trying to change was enough to override the lure of my iPad. I could take the iPad out of my room, but I also use it still to check in on my toddler when he wakes up crying.

I had a nice sounding list of things I could do instead of watching screens, but when the time came, none of those appealed to me and all I wanted to do was slide back into my comfortable habit. But I did end up finding something that has worked (at least so far, which was 3 days in a row. A pretty big small win, if you ask me!). Instead of cutting out tv watching all together, I moved it up and out of the bedroom. After my son is in bed by 9pm, I go downstairs and watch my shows on my iPad in the living room. By 10pm, I shut it it off and start my bedtime routine.

The first two nights, I was tired enough that I was willing to go straight to bed and fall asleep when I went to my room, but last night I wasn’t quite ready for sleep. I was delighted to find that because I had already watched my shows, I found the idea of reading or writing in my journal to be much more appealing. I read a few pages of my book and then went to sleep. Seeing that it’s possible has me feeling so encouraged! Here’s hoping I found the magic to make this habit stick.

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