Preschoolers are known for being strong-willed, and testing their parents’ patience. Bedtime is no exception to thier determination to get their own way. Children, preschoolers especially, need their sleep and their health, attitude and behavior can suffer if they don’t get enough sleep. Taking on the bedtime battle may take some time, but the key is consistency. Here are some tips to putting the bedtime battles behind you.
Develop A Relaxation Routine
Children do best when they know what to expect. Giving children a consistent, daily routine will help them better know what to expect and make bedtime seem more routine. A good example of a bedtime routine could include a bath, a story time in bed, and then lights out.
Avoid Sugar & Fluids After Dinner
Sugar and fluids can give your child reasons to delay or procrastinate going to bed. If your child has sugar too close to bedtime, they may be too wound up to go to sleep. If your child has too much fluid before bed, they may want to get up several times to go to the bathroom; regardless of whether or not they really need to go or not.
Address Any Fears
If your child is having a hard time going to bed due to fears, be sure to address these concerns. Installing a small nightlight may help ease your child’s fears and make it easier for them to sleep.
Don’t Use Your Child’s Bed As Punishment
Although it may seem like a good method of discipline, do not use your child’s bed as a form of punishment. If your child is sent to bed for being naughty, he or she may begin to associate their bed with being in trouble. This association may make them resist bedtime even more and confuse them if they didn’t do anything wrong.
If your child gets out of bed, place them back in bed and remind them, “It’s bedtime. You need to go to sleep.” Some children get the idea after only a couple times of being placed back in bed; other children may take several times to understand and they may throw a fit. Do not let these temper tantrums get to you. Place your child back in bed, tuck them in and leave the room. Repeat as many times as necessary. Eventually your child will learn they cannot get out of bed whenever they feel like.
Don’t Allow Your Child to Stay Up
Regardless of how many times your child tries to get out of bed, remain consistent and do not allow them to push you over. Allowing your child to stay up because you’ve “given up” will only teach them that they can get away with inappropriate and unacceptable behavior. Don’t allow your child to get away with this behavior or bedtime will only become more and more of a battle as your child gets older.
The most important thing you can do when enforcing a bedtime routine is to remain consistent. Your child will not take you seriously if the routine or the rules change from day to day. Do your best to keep their routine as near-identical as possible from one day to the next. If this routine is interrupted, your child may resist bedtime.
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Lights Out! Getting Your Preschooler to Bed