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Thanks Alan and Sandra!
I agree with you, Alan, that this would happen anyway, even if we weren't unschooling, but it would look pretty different because the kids would just "have to" go to bed and would probably very often cry themselves to sleep and that would be very sad. It would be their problem, not ours, like it was for me when I was young.
When you say we have a variety of solutions as unschooling parents do you mean that we see things differently? That we understand that our kids have needs and that we want to help them meet these needs? Or do you have any other tips for making sleep an easier issue?
It feels good to know that your daughter also goes to sleep late (sorry!). At least I don't feel as if we're doing it all wrong. Back home we had everyone attacking us with all these sleep issues. "You have to teach him to sleep" was the most common phrase we heard and I always found it amusing because Leo sleeps perfectly and peacefully and always has. He just does it when he wants to.
I guess there isn't anything wrong with trying to encourage a different "schedule" if it's important for our family's wellbeing. Tired parents are not at their best and that is how we feel lately. Thanks for your words!
Sandra, in response to your question, no, we weren't making them go to bed. We have really never made them go to bed. They usually fall asleep wherever they are (or wherever I am) and nursing. Leo now asks me to take him to bed when he's tired and he nurses to sleep too. But we all sleep together so I don't think it's a problem of fear of sleeping or being alone. They just don't want to "waste time" sleeping.
We did all go to bed together for a while but it usually didn't work because they just found it incredibly fun and would literally spend hours jumping and running around and over us in bed. What we usually do is that I "sleep" them and then go with their dad, like you said. The only problem is that when that happens, we're already both VERY tired.
But what you say about them growing and changing is so true... and that has always helped us a lot. When you know that phases come and go it's much easier to go through them with an open mind and patience and kindness. It was very hard for us before we learned that, because we were always scared that some situations would last forever. Now I realise how absurd that was!