It’s no surprise that bedtime can be very difficult for children (and parents too!) There are many guesses as to why our children fight us on going to bed on time. It could be because they are not actually tired yet, they are scared of the dark, or they do not want to miss out if older siblings or parents get to stay up later.
In an ideal world, our children would be able to complete their bedtime routine (brushing teeth, changing into pajamas, etc.) without many reminders. They would remember to use a quiet voice, ask politely for things, and play or read quietly in their room if they are not tired enough for bed. However, as a parent, you know that’s usually not the case.
So what can you do the increase the likelihood that your child will be able to complete their bedtime routine without fussing or needing constant prompts?
- Remember to be clear and direct (IF THEN statements)
- IF you go brush your teeth THEN we can read a book
- Use rewards
- Reward your child with a token if they complete their bedtime routine as desired (child brushes teeth, puts on pajamas, and turn on nightlight, etc.) Once your child receives a certain amount of tokens to meet a goal, then they can ‘cash’ in their tokens. For example, 10 tokens can mean extended TV time or a trip to get ice cream.
Whichever technique you find useful, remember to be consistent. Make sure you’re rewarding your child if they demonstrate the proper behaviors and to encourage them to be successful. Be sure to give the reward directly after the desired behavior. With your encouragement and consistent reward, bedtime should become easier for you and your child!