Bedtime Battles

Bedtime Battles – when kids just don’t want to go to sleep!bedtime battles

What a lovely time of night it is when all children are tucked up in bed and sleeping soundly.  However, that can change dramatically when your child will not stay in bed or settle!  Of course, if the child is unwell, it is to be expected; but generally it is a goal of most of you to have your children settled and sleeping in order to have a few minutes to yourself.  I’m sorry I don’t have a magic wand for you, but I can share some suggestions that have worked for us.

Firstly, it is a good idea when you are training your child in a ‘big girl/boy’ bed to have a regular bedtime routine and time (for instance, brush teeth, read story, into bed by 7pm every night).  Steve and I also found it was a good strategy to let one parent do the reminders and resettling.  After 3 resettling turns it helped to have the other parent to head in and do a more stern reminder.

When our children were older, it helped to have another strategy.  We allowed the children to read a couple of books.  If they got out of bed the child had the books taken off them.  This was a good strategy as it didn’t need any stern voices.

Yet another consideration is the needs of the child.  As previously mentioned, it is a very good idea to set up some routines and regular behaviour surrounding bedtime.  When the children are used to a routine and settling better, it helps you as the children get older to know if there really is something wrong (since it would not be such common behaviour for them to be unsettled each night).  I actually remember calling to my mother when I was 5, telling her I was unwell.  There were visitors at the time and I had already been out of bed many times.  Anyway, I then proceeded to be sick in my bed.  I was in a lot of trouble of course!

One time when visiting a friend, my eldest would not settle.  No sooner had I settled her, she would follow me out of the room.  I was getting very cross.  My friend gave me good advice.  She felt that the bed problem was not sleeping but obeying my instructions.  She taught me to train my children in first time obedience.  It was the best strategy I have learnt to date.  It took some time, and I will explain more about it another time, but eventually I trained my children to answer when I said their name, come when called, and stay in bed.

And you’ll be pleased to know they can now stay in bed when first settled….most of the time! Perhaps you have come across some useful bedtime strategies for settling your children at night, why not share them with us?

Peaceful evenings to you, MeaganMeagan

4 thoughts on “Bedtime Battles”

  1. This is a battle that we seem to win and then regress in from time to time. I find it is lack of routine that makes it harder to settle our kids. What I do find works really well is to give our children a couple of books each and leave the light on for 10 minutes. I set the timer on the oven (something they are used to as a ‘timing’ tool), and when the buzzer goes off, so does the light. Because they know this is the routine, they are generally much more accepting of ‘lights out’, and will usually settle much quicker. I also think, stating the bedtime plan before it happens can help. If kids know what is expected/what will be happening, it seems to prepare their mind better for it, and therefore make them more willing to co-operate – MOST of the time!! 🙂

    1. I love the use of the oven timer! I am sure other readers will use this too. I also think that letting kids know what is coming up is a great way to prepare them, not only at bedtime, but throughout the day and in times of busyness too!

      1. I remember one night turning off all the lights and going to bed leaving Ruby in the lounge cause she wasn’t tired and we were!! She sat there for a couple of minutes then put herself to bed! Never did it again! Not many routines in this crazy shift working house.

        1. That is classic! What a great strategy! I’ve often wondered what it was like in shift-working houses at bedtimes and also houses with teenagers!

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