7 Tips To End Dreaded Bedtime Battles
Most Importantly - Have a bedtime routine
For ex: bath, pj’s, brush teeth, stories, songs, and bedtime. Whether children realize it or not, they love structure and tend to do better when things are predictable.
- Give your child some notice before it’s time to start the routine each night – “Jake you have five more minutes before bath time!”
- You can also make a pictorial chart for your child to follow — including each step of the daily bedtime routine.
- Don’t forget to include his/her usual requests (within reason of course) For example: that last little sip of water or 3 little kisses.
- Do your best to prevent the ever so lovely attempt to drag things out with activities that aren’t part of the ritual. No extra book, song, or 2nd sip of water.
Your Child Should Fall Asleep On Their Own
If your child is dependant upon you to staying with him/her in order to fall asleep, it may be a good time to change this and encourage them to fall asleep by themselves. This may be a more tricky one. Slowly doing so by simply stating you’ll be back to check on him/her in five minutes. Slowly increasing the time each day. Just a little reassurance you are still there.
Establish a Reward System
If your child goes to bed on time and without a fuss, the reward for you is obvious. Make it very clear what is expected og him/her and that their are rewards for good choices. For example: If he/she goes to bed without trouble for three nights in a row the reward will be a new puzzle or a visit to one of their favorite parks. The morning after he/she follows the routine without a battle, praise them for their good choices and give out a sticker to put on a special reward chart. Start with a small goal to start and add on after 3 days is working regularly.
Be sure your child is getting enough rest
Has your child recently stopped taking a nap? If so your child could very well be overtired and may need an earlier bedtime. Is his/her nap too late and he/she simply isn’t tired. A simple schedule change may be all your child needs to make bedtime easier and much more pleasant.
Give Your Child Choices
Allowing your child choices gives them a sense or control and assertiveness in a positive way. Refusing to go to bed is a powerful way for your child to assert herself. Let him/her decide what pajamas them want to wear or what book they want to read before bed. But be very careful what choices you offer. Make sure you can live with the result. For example asking ”Do you want to go to bed now?” isn’t the best choice. Most likely the answer won’t be what you want to hear.
Don’t Give In & Keep Your Cool
Even if your child has a complete meltdown or throw a fit, stay strong and don’t give in. Do your very best to RESPOND NOT REACT. Use a calm but firm voice and refrain from yelling. When it’s time for bed, it’s time for bed. If you give in to another request, they’ll only continue push their boundaries more.
Make it a Point to Set Some Time Aside Each Day for Your Child.
It only has to be a few minutes of one on one time and give them 100% of your attetion. Simply asking them how their day was and doign something they enjoy is all it takes. Sometimes children fight going to bed or misbehave becasue their are craving your attention.
Realize this may take a bit of time. You can’t expect that your child will instantly learn how to go to bed and sleep all night accordingly. You have to take one step at a time, one day at a time.