If you are a parent, you may have a nightmare on your hands each night when you are trying to put your child to bed. This is because a lot of children simply do not want to quit playing and go to bed. A lot of parents actually say that it takes well over an hour to get their child into bed and then the child simply pops right back out of bed.
There is a way in which you can actually avoid this nightly nightmare. Basically, you must develop a bedtime routine that involves the child in every part of the routine. This is especially helpful since children are usually overtired when it comes to bedtime, and yet they may still be over stimulated and need to wind down. Simply telling your child to go to bed will not work in this case because your child is simply too wound up to follow your instructions. When you develop a routine for your child you can eliminate a lot of the bedtime struggles that you normally face. This is because these routines give the child a chance to wind down while having some say as to how this routine will be carried out.
Your child’s bedtime routine should begin with a ten-minute warning in which they are told that in ten minutes they are to get on their pajamas. At the end of the ten minutes, let your child know that it is time to go put on their pajamas. If you find that this doesn’t work, you can always insert another reminder at the five-minute point.
Once your child has their pajamas on, they should then be instructed to brush their teeth.
After your child has brushed his/her teeth then your child can pick out a book. It depends upon the child as to whether you want to let your child look through the entire bookcase or if you want to offer your child only three choices. The child can then decide to sit on the floor or bed, or lay down on the bed to have the book read to them. You should have already decided how long you would read to your child. If you read for thirty minutes then do a count down and announce when there is only ten minutes, then only five minutes left.
Once you have finished reading a book to your child, tuck your child into their bed and turn off the lights. It is time for your child to go to sleep.
If you have a child that will not stay in their bed then tell your child that you will be back in five minutes. After five minutes, go back to your child’s room and tell your child that you will be back in ten minutes. After ten minutes, go back. This will help your child develop the trust that you will return.
While you are establishing this bedtime routine, you need to stick with the times that you state. This is what truly helps develop the routine for your child. This also helps your child know what to expect each night. Of course, this is going to take a lot of patience. However, after a few weeks your child will begin to trust the pattern and stop fighting with you at bedtime. This is because the child is involved in making the choices that are a necessary part of this pattern. Soon enough your bedtime struggles will be completely eliminated.