Toddlerhood Challenges & Beyond
A few months after my son turned three getting him to go to bed without a fuss started to become a little challenging. He never really gave us a hard time going upstairs but it would be fighting going to the bathroom, brushing his teeth, or wanting me versus my husband to put him to bed. He would also prolong bedtime by asking for another song or another book, saying he had a question and then not knowing what to ask, or he wanted a drink. It doesn’t sound too challenging until it becomes an everyday issue. What use to take 15 minutes started taking 30 minutes. IF he didn’t get what he wanted he would then cry. We, finally started telling him if he didn’t cooperate or if he was prolonging things we would just say it’s time for bed, give hima a kiss, and leave the room. He would cry for a little while and we would then go in and let him know why we left the room.
In the end we came up with a sleeping chart. We got a large piece of construction paper and made an actual calendar Sunday through Saturday. Each day had two squares. One square was for naptime and one was for bedtime. He would get a star in the square if he went to sleep without crying or giving us a hard time. We came up with a plan that if he got 6 stars within a week he would get a special treat. If he got 12 stars within a week he would get a special surprise. It took a few days but he caught on. He now regularly goes to bed without a fuss. (Not to say he still doesn’t have his moments but it is a lot less often.)
As we all may know or will eventually find out, behavior can start to be an issue (if not before) around the age of three. At least for me, my son is getting smarter and beginning to test me in more ways. Just recently I added a Behavior portion to his chart. Under the sleeping squares I added 3 squares for behavior. I usually give him 2 warnings and if he doesn’t listen he gets a black X on one of the squares. If he gets three X he gets a toy or privilege taken away the next day. So far it seems to be working. I still do use time out when he really doesn’t something wrong but this has aloud me not to have to use it as often. He is still a typical three year old but this has helped me establish a form of discipline he understands and realizes there will be consequences to his behavior. I am by no means perfect but I really try to stick to it. I still loose my patience at times but this has definitely helped me stay in control and follow through most of the time.