Many parents are familiar with bedtime wars when it comes to small children. Here are some tips and tricks you can use to simplify the war, and always win the battle.
Establish a routine.
Make sure your child knows what’s coming and what to expect. Children crave routine and in getting used to the order of things you can expect their behavior to improve. Be sure not only the actions are consistent, but the timing, as well.
An example would be, after dinner:
- Family Time (30 to an hour of tv time, playing games, etc.)
- Clean Up Toys
- Brushing teeth
- Check for monsters
- Read a story
Give a 10-15 minute warning before routine start.
Let the children know how much time they have before the night time ritual starts, so they can get used to the idea before they get involved in something and feel upset when they have to go to bed. This helps them correlate time with activities, and eventually you may find your children asking if it’s time to start getting ready for bed yet.
Do a monster check before lights out.
This may not be important for older children and may not be necessary for children who do not fear monsters or bad guys, but for those who seem to always be afraid something is going to get them, you should turn on the light, check under the bed, in the closet, and in any other “hiding spots” with your child to help them see nothing is there.
Make sure a night light is on.
Before turning off the main light, turn the night light on with the child. If an automatic light is an option, great. This will help the child be able to see to get to and from the bathroom in the middle of the night, and will keep the room light enough for the child to see no monsters snuck into the room while he or she was sleeping.
Don’t back down.
No matter what you do, you must be firm about the guidelines you establish around bedtime rituals. If you cave, your child will have an even more difficult time getting used to everything and more sleepless nights/bedtime nighmares are sure to ensue. A little crying and fussing never hurt anyone, because they must see you mean business.
By using any of these particular tips, if not all of them, you will be able to stop the bedtime nightmares–and who knows, you may get some good sleep