At some point in your parenting journey, you will most likely find yourself engaged in a bedtime battle. Even the most well adjusted kids go through times of struggle. Having a bedtime plan helps you and your child feel confident in the midst of bedtime storms.
1. Establish a bedtime routine.
Evening routines are imperative and a successful bedtime outcome begins around dinnertime. Whether it’s more time to play with mom or dad for younger kids or time to complete homework for older ones, what happens after dinnertime should be fairly steady each day.
2. Be consistent.
We get busy and overwhelmed at times and it’s easy to let them stay up past their bedtime. Or we might feel guilty because we’ve been away for a few days so we allow them to sleep in our bed. These things are disruptive. We know all kids do better when their world is predictable.
3. Time to wind down.
Give them a 30-minute window to wrap up what they’re doing. This is their signal to know its time to finish what they are doing and wind down – no new activities and no more screen time.
4. On your mark, get set, go.
Now is the time to begin the transition to their bedroom. This might include a bath, jammies, teeth, story, chat, prayers, hugs and kisses before you say goodnight and leave their room.
5. Stand firm.
If they try to keep you engaged by getting up after the bedtime routine is complete, stand firm. This is where things can go awry quick and is a tactic thousands of kids employ. They might need to tell you one more thing, get one more drink of water, have one more kiss and so on. If this happens, kindly say “it’s time to go back to bed” and gently lead her back. No talking, no getting angry – very scripted and rehearsed. You might have to do this repeatedly until she gets the message that you will not tolerate manipulation.