Many parents find trying to get their child to bed at night to be one big struggle. During bedtime struggles, the child may play, whine and even cry.
Once in bed, the child may repeatedly keep getting out of bed and coming downstairs.
In this article I share advice on how to successfully get your child into bed at night, without all of this fuss.
End Bedtime Struggles!
Some children even though they know that they are tired, do not want to miss out on any of the action or excitement. They want to spend as much time with mom and dad as possible. They can even see the fact that they have to go to bed before their parents as unjust and even cruel. These types of children will want to disrupt and even avoid going to bed at all cost.
I have been through this experience with my own two young children. Both children have been known to be very moody in the morning after a late night.
As a parent it can become very frustrating as well as upsetting when you see your child crying because they do not want to go to bed. Comments like, “please, mom, just one more chapter” or “can I get a drink of water?” were far too regular, and at times I felt like backing down.
I have learned best through parenting books and countless articles that all played a roll in ending bedtime struggles with my children. Each child now has a set time when they have to be in bed by. This is a time that they have both agreed to!
They get changed into their pyjamas around half an hour before this time, and then can either spend that period of time playing with their toys or watching the television. If they want to play, we ensure that the games are relaxing ones and not too energetic.
Stop Drinks Before Bed
Getting up to pee has always been the larger problem in our bedtime struggles. And it’s even worse when a child is potty training.
Both children are given one final drink before bed and are scurried to the restroom to begin their nightly routines.
By relieving their bladders before bed, this reduces the chance of a bathroom break or accident in the middle of the night.
Story At Bedtime
Reading stories at night is something I believe in, whole-heartedly! This is something they both love and helps them to wind down and relax. And, I find it’s one of the easier ones to instill to end bedtime battles.
We choose one age-appropriate book each to read before bed. As my daughter got older, her books turned into single chapters (sometimes two depending on the length of a chapter).
Reading to my children gives us a chance to bond, have a little fun, and relax. Not to mention, night time reading typically fills a homework need as the children start school, so we’re killing two birds with one stone.
Explain Importance Of Sleep
I have explained to each child the importance of sleep (how it gives our brains a chance to process what it learns and allows our body to rest and heal). Bedtime is the part of the day we should enjoy instead of seeing it as some sort of punishment.
And believe me, I haven’t been above telling my kids how much I wished I could go to sleep when they did! Instead, mommy has more chores and work to complete before she’s allowed to go to bed.
Make Their Bedroom Inviting
I have tried to make their bedrooms their own special space that they want to retreat to.
Each of their rooms has elements that suit their personalities.
My daughter’s room has light blue walls and a comforter with whimsical dinosaurs (as she had been into dinosaurs for a very long time).
My son’s room is a dark green and he has a metal Jeep bed with a camo comforter. He’s all about automobiles and construction equipment.
Play Quiet, Soothing Sounds
As long as I can remember, I’ve played white noise in my baby’s rooms. White noise for baby’s sleep often helps babies doze off more easily and drowns out ambient noises that are likely to startle a wee one.
I’m still using white noise for my son, who is now 4.
I did the same for my daughter until she began requesting music at night. Then, I began allowing her to listen to calm, quiet music to help her drift off to sleep.
The volume is low and if we have trouble with the kids waking and crying in the middle of the night, it’s one of the things we evaluate as a trigger.
Sleep & Wake Clock
This last section is for the particularly difficult kids who just can’t help but test the limits! You know the ones …
They get out of bed to play.
They hang out at the top of the stairs.
They sneak downstairs.
They wake up the whole house way too early!
For the kids who need to learn boundaries, we found it particularly helpful to have a special alarm clock (I really like this one!).
This clock turns color (ours is yellow) when lights must go out and you’re not allowed out of bed. Then, it turns green when it’s acceptable to get up and wake others.
This clock is set by the parent, so you choose the times for sleep and waking up. And, while it was ever so helpful, it’s important to remember to go over rules with your children, especially with kids who are potty training! You don’t want them to feel they’re not allowed to leave the bed if they need to potty!
These tips have helped to make our childrens’ bedtimes a pleasant experience. Although, as you’re aware, it hasn’t always been the case.
The children themselves are now into a routine, and one we are all pretty happy with.
Most nights, our bedtime struggles are a thing of the past!