By Daddy Nickell
Parents of toddlers know all too well that when you tell a child it’s bedtime they’ll likely use their newly found independence to get out of bed several times before actually going to sleep. It can be frustrating as a parent to put your child to bed multiple times every night. Well I’m here to help. With six kids of my own, I’ve learned a few tricks that have helped me in the past.
Make a Routine: The routine rules in my household, and a bedtime routine is just as important as any other. For my wife and I, our routine is as follows: 15 minutes prior to beginning the bedtime routine I’ll acknowledge the time to my children. When those 15 minutes are up we will head for the bathtub to begin the wind down. After bath time each child will get to pick out a book, and we will read the books together before finding our favorite stuffed animal getting in bed and saying goodnight. I then turn the reading lamp off and shut the door.
Don’t Give In: I, as most parents, have experienced my toddler getting out of bed after I put him to sleep. When this happens it’s important not to give in. Tell your child it’s bedtime and take him back to his bed, say goodnight and tuck him in. You’ll need to continue repeating this process until your child actually does go to sleep.
Have a Discussion: In some cases your child might be getting out of bed because something is scaring him or he isn’t feeling well. Kids won’t always come right out and say these things, so it’s important to talk with your child in order to determine if there’s some other reason as to why they don’t want to stay in their bedroom and sleep after bedtime.
Review Naptime Schedules: If you’re having a continuous problem with getting your child to sleep at bedtime maybe you need to review their naptime schedule because your child might not be tired enough to sleep. In my house, my boys wake up at 6:00 AM; they take a nap from 10:00 – 11:00 and again from 3:00 – 4:00. Their bedtime is 8:00 PM; this nap schedule has worked well for us, but depending on your child’s age and energy levels you might need to alter this to work better for you and your child.
Teaching your child to go to bed at bedtime can be a tough lesson. Stick with it, and you’ll get there eventually.
Robert Nickell, aka Daddy Nickell, father of 6, offers his “5 cents” worth of advice to expectant and new parents. Daddy Nickell is the founder of Daddyscrubs.com, delivery room duds and daddy gear for dads, and the Daddyscrubs.com blog where he covers topics about parenting and the latest baby and kids gear, all from a Dad’s perspective.