During the holidays any kind of sensible routine went completely out of the window. In fact, the girls bouncing off their bedroom walls and squealing in a Christmas-induced tinsel frenzy til ten o'clock every night seemed a small price to pay for all the blissful lie-ins we were getting.
However, when it was time to go back to school, they understandably found it hard to settle back into the routine of lights out and sleep at 7.30pm. But when they came home after their first day back and said that they had both been told by teachers that they looked shattered, I decided I needed to take action and forego the lie-ins. Heaven forbid the school thinking that we are awful neglectful parents for having knackered, dopey children, who stay up all night watching Disney films and eating crap.
So on Tuesday night, at 6pm, I hid the clocks and marched them upstairs telling them it was already practically the middle of the night. 'But we've only just had supper,' they protested. They were tucked up by 6.30pm and as I left the room I told them that if they went straight to sleep without getting out of bed or exchanging insults, they would get a treat in their lunch box the following morning.
My chocoholic, sugar-addict daughter Betty took this bribe very seriously indeed, and after about two minutes of her gently but intensively persuading Dolly that she must do as I said, they both pretty much went straight to sleep.
And not only did they sleep all night, but the following morning Betty appeared at my bedside at 7am, fully dressed, bright eyed and bushy tailed and asking: 'So, can I have two treats for being so good?'
Dolly was a bit cross that Betty had got dressed so efficiently. In response, Dolly decided to take 20 minutes to get one leg into her tights and then have a meltdown.
The following night, not long after I had given them the same treat-in-lunchbox bribe and left the room, Dolly called down to me and, proud as can be, she told me that she was already dressed in her uniform and ready for school.
I had already settled on the sofa with a glass of wine and Alan Partridge on Netflix, and so decided that it probably wouldn't do her any harm to sleep in her school uniform all night, and it would in fact save me a battle in the morning. So I let it go, and carried on with Alan.
This morning though, Betty was beside herself with annoyance that Dolly had got dressed before her - a whole 12 hours before her in fact. Who would have thought that a miniature imitation Milky Way could hold this much weight? And who knows where it will end?
In the meantime, my children may now be awake in class but I wonder what the school would have to say about them sleeping in their uniform and eating chocolate from Aldi for lunch every single day?