HOW TO AVOID BEDTIME BATTLES
Help! How do I get my kids to go to bed?
It can be really frustrating to get your child to go bed sometimes, especially after a long and tiring day. Follow these ideas for a smoother bedtime ritual.
Step 1 Follow the same bed time routines every night.
Children need organization and routines to feel safe. Children have no internal sense of order. So the child’s environment and schedule provides the needed external structure.
Whatever your bedtime routine (sing, read, prayer, cuddle, etc.), make it the same every night. This will signal to your child’s body that it is time to shift into sleep.
Licensed preschools have a visual schedule on the wall of what happens during the day and it works wonders. You can try having drawings or pictures of each step of your bed time routine on your child’s wall.
Step 2 Use I messages
If your child won’t get in bed, say:
“I am going to try something different tonight. I will wait here for two minutes to start reading a story and to cuddle with you and then I need to leave.”
Or you could say, “I am going to give you two choices. You can come now and get three stories or in two minutes and get one story.”
Step 3 Say what you are going to say once then FOLLOW THROUGH. If your child doesn’t come, leave.
If you have been repeating yourself a lot until now, you can be honest and say, “Until now, I have repeated myself a lot. I am going to just ask one time going forward.” They may not believe you and be surprised when you enforce the limit.
The first few times you change your method, they might give you a really hard time. If they start screaming/yelling, you can say calmly, “I think you are wondering if screaming will change my mind. I am NOT changing my mind”.
Step 4 NO EMOTIONAL DUMPING. Don’t say as you are leaving, “Well, if you had come, I wouldn’t be leaving now would I?” Or “Once again, you refuse to listen.”
Step 5 Say empathically, “Wow. Losing out on story time can be rough. We will try again tomorrow.” Then leave.