No! No! No!
Hands up 🙋♀️ if you’ve had this right before bedtime? Or worse, it could have been the “Dance of the no’s” for the entire day and when you’ve asked your child to get ready for bed they blatantly refuse and start running around and hiding from you?
First of all, breathe. Remind yourself that this is perfectly normal development in your toddler or child as they learn their place in the world. It is our job however to learn skills and ways to guide them in making great choices to prepare them for their future.
Here are some tips you can do to prepare your child for bedtime.
Children crave control but no, this doesn’t mean you let them run their own lives as they are not physically and mentally ready for such responsibility. However, they also need boundaries and guidance. giving them age-appropriate choices will allow them to explore their need to be in control but still reaching the same destination you need them to – in bed and asleep.
Choices will have to be Option A or B and keep it short. Before offering your choices to them, always acknowledge their feelings and how hard it is!
Acknowledging their feelings help them with this transition from the activity they were doing before bed to bedtime. For example, if they were playing with their toys before bedtime you could say this – “I understand you love to play more and you’re sad that you have to stop. However you can continue this tomorrow, I will leave it out. It’s bedtime now, would you like to choose if you want me to bring you up to bed or did you want to get into your room yourself?”
Or “I know sleep seems boring to you because you’ve been having so much fun, would you like to come and help me choose your book to read together before bed?” then followed by “which book would you like, this or that?”
Don’t forget to shower your child with lots of praise once they’ve chosen the right choice! “Thank you so much for choosing the great choice my dear! I am so proud of you. Sleep is great for our bodies because we become healthy and strong!”
2. Be two steps ahead of them
Children will always crave the need to push boundaries and this is completely healthy but still doesn’t make it less frustrating after a long day. If you have a runner, before you ask them to get into the bath or shower, go close to them get down on one knee and put your arm around them on their shoulder and say “It’s bedtime now, let’s go get ready. Would you like me to carry you into the bath or did you want to walk there yourself? Your choice!”
That way, when your little runner escapes from you or tries to you would have had your arm on their shoulder or back in preparation to stop that from happening!
3. Keep calm and carry on
Remember, our children are not out to ‘get us’ or ‘manipulate’ us and it is completely healthy for them to test the waters and push boundaries. It is our role as parents to help guide them into making great choices while they are young to build great foundations for them as they continue to grow up into healthy well-adjusted adults!
If your sleep struggles go way beyond these issues, reach out and book one of us for a FREE 20 Minute discovery call and find out more how we can help you get your peaceful nights back! We would love to help