Here are a few tips to help make the bedtime struggle with your little ones a little less of a struggle.
- No big meals right before bedtime – no caffeine either!
- Once dinner time is over, stay away from over-stimulating activities. Don’t “wind them up” and expect them to be ready for bed a short time later.
- Give them a choice when it’s almost bed time – do you want to go now or in five minutes? Only do this once and when it’s bedtime, it’s bedtime.
- Form a quiet and relaxing bedtime ritual that you can start about half an hour before bedtime. Whatever the routine is, have it end in your child’s bedroom with them tucked in. A bath and reading is good but avoid scary movies or exciting television shows.
- When establishing that calming bedtime routine, avoid rocking and singing your child to sleep. If he or she wakes up in the middle of the night, they may need that same routine to get back to sleep and can lead to sleep disorders. If you are already doing this, gradually phase this out of your routine.
- Make sure your child’s bed and bedroom are comfortable – the room shouldn’t be too warm or too cold and the bedding should be comfortable but not restrictive.
- If your child calls for you after you have left the room, don’t respond right away. This allows them to remember that it’s time for bed and they should really be trying to get to sleep.
- Finally, set up a reward system of some kind. For example, every night your child gets in bed at bedtime and stays there, he or she gets a star or a sticker of some kind. After a number of stars or stickers are earned, give them a prize.