If you're fighting with your child every evening when it comes to going to bed, it's time to revamp your approach. These tips will help make getting them to bed a much more pleasant task.
Variety may be the spice of life, but it's not the case when it comes to putting your kids to bed. "Put kids to bed at the same time every day. Whether it's summer or winter, your schedule is full or empty, having a set bedtime is essential," says Kathryn Lavallee, a mom with two boys. "There may be some resistance or crying at first, but after sticking to a regular bedtime for a few weeks, your child will automatically start feeling sleepy when bedtime rolls around," says Lavallee, who runs the blog Mommy Kat and Kids.
To help your child get into the frame of mind that it's time to go to bed, establish a pattern, says Lavallee. "Following the same pattern every night at bedtime is another way to help mentally prepare your child for bed. Reading a book, brushing teeth, having a bath and kissing loved ones goodnight are often a part of a child's bedtime routine, and following the same steps in the same order each night will have your child ready for bed by the time the routine is complete."
Don't think that playing and getting them active will tucker out your kids and make them doze off. Dr. Rene of Parenting Playgroups says this will only rile them up, as will watching TV. Think of how you don't exercise right before bedtime — it often revs you up. This is what playing or watching television will do to your kids. Stick to calmer activities, such as reading.
Sometimes you just have to figure out what's working and make that your family's routine (within reason!). "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em," says Lavallee. "If you have a child that consistently gets out of bed after lights out, it can sometimes be quicker, easier and a saviour to your sanity to just lie down and cuddle with your child until he or she falls asleep," she says. "After all, the day will come soon enough when your little one will turn their nose up at hugs, never mind bedtime cuddles!"
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