Children do not come with a handbook. Wouldn’t it be great if they did? One of the first pages parents would turn to is how to handle bedtime. It is a night when we are at our most tired and our parenting skills can go out the window as children often desire to fight through their tired eyes for more time with their parents.
The following are the Top 4 Tips for parents at bedtime!
Negotiating Bedtime Routine
Children are smart. They watch us and know our weaknesses. When it comes to their bedtime routines it should be set. If they get one story – let it be one story. Once we change that to 1 or 2 or 3 they will often push for more and this is more work for you at a time of day when you need to be working less. Keep it simple and stick to it.
Say what you mean and mean what you say
If you promise a story make it happen whenever possible, but, if they “lose” their story because of dragging getting ready, not listening, etc then always follow through or else you will lose your credibility.
Lay With Me
If you lay with your child, have it just for story time, NOT until they fall asleep. I know this may “help them fall asleep quicker” but it overall extends their bedtime for you! Remember this is not just about your child, it is the relationship and you being able to have time to care for yourself as well. Letting your child fall asleep alone helps them to build more confidence and independence.
Getting Off the clock
Set a rule that after your child goes to bed you are “off the clock.” When they come out to seek attention through the various creative ways they do, stay calm, neutral and try not to reward this behavior. Say something to the effect of, “It’s after bedtime. Time to go bed” and bring them back with neutral emotion and very few words.
Though no personalized handbooks exist, child counseling can help decode the mysteries of how to turn your child’s behavior around. Feel free to call or email us for more information. Sign up for our email newsletter at www.cbtiofsocal.com