My friend just posted on Facebook that her toddler came up to her and said, “I’m tired Mommy. I’m going to bed,” and then proceeded to prepare themselves for bed, tucked in and slept soundly for the rest of the night. My head just about exploded. How did she get her child motivated to put himself to bed when my children resist bedtime with fiber of their little beings? It’s time do something. With these child bedtime strategies, children may not put themselves to bed, but once they are there, they will stay there.
Sleep is Number One
Dealing with a sleep-deprived child isn’t pretty. Either they are cranky or out of this world hyper. Convincing them to take a nap is next to impossible, but consistent sleep deprivation in children can learn to behavioral problems, difficulty learning and even make them overweight. With so much at stake, sleeping should be our number one priority. In order keep things consistent, make a schedule for everyone. Everyone goes to bed at the same time, and everyone wakes up at the same time, even on weekends. This way, your child doesn’t have anything they want to stay up for because everyone is already going to bed. If they wake up early, they know that until the set time has arrived, no one else is going to get up. This will motivate your children to get to bed and stay there until there is something worth wile to be awake for, like spending quality time with you!
Address Sleeping Problems
Sometimes bed time blues have nothing to do with your child’s motivation to sleep but rather their struggle to sleep. If you find your child consistently has trouble getting to sleep, often wakes up, is heard snoring or even can’t breath while they are sleeping, they might have a condition that is keeping them from getting the rest they need to stay healthy. In this case, visit your doctor immediately. Your child might have enlarged tonsils or adenoids. Simply by scheduling a routine examination, your doctor can diagnosis the problem and you and your child can enjoy a good nights rest.
Talk about your sleep strategy with the whole family, including your children. While you may have one opinion on the time you should wake up or get to bed, your partner may need that to be adjusted for work or your child may consistently wake up after the time you have set. When you discuss it as a group, everyone has a chance to agree and follow through with their decisions. Your child can then be held accountable for their contribution to the meeting. Should they try to resist your agreed upon schedule, you can remind them that they were just as much apart of this discussion as you and your partner were. Make the schedule easy for them to remember by creating an interactive chart where they are able to mark off each task done before bed.
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