Organizing Bedtime for Children
You have tried putting your child to bed but it just doesn't seem to work. Your current family ritual consists of arguing with your child for a couple of hours about going to bed. This doesn't have to be your family's nightly ritual. There is help for a quieter more organized way of putting your children to bed. Just follow the guidelines below.
- Establish a fixed bedtime. Take time to decide on a bedtime for each child. For older children, you can decide to have "in your room time." This time has to be stuck to, for the sake of consistency. Even if you have had a really good day, and everyone is in a good mood, and it would be really easy to allow the child to stay up past his bedtime. Then when you have had a really bad day you enforce the bedtime not only does this confuse the child it also sends a message to the child that bedtime is negotiable. That in reality bedtime is really set by what type of mood you are in, and if they cry, coax, argue they can have whatever bedtime they want. For the schedule to work and to be a success allow enough time for the child to get adequate sleep. Think about the time that the child has to be up in the morning. Will the child be cross and tired all day because their time in bed was too short? For you own health and peace of mine allow some time for yourself.
- Set the mood for bedtime. Children need time to prepare mentally for bed. If you allow them to be playing at full speed and then abruptly send them to bed you will probably get the crying, coaxing, and arguing. Set the mood. Let everyone know that the "quiet hour" has come. This gives everyone time to prepare to finish and wrap up what they are doing. Don't allow them to start something new after you have announced that it is "quiet hour" unless it directly deals with going to bed.
- Encourage cooperation. You will need everyone's cooperation in order for this to work. Make bedtime interesting. Establish a routine for them, and then follow it. The routine could be something as simple as bath time, and then everyone gathers around on someone's bed for a story or a song. If you have an older child who is learning to read, let the older child read the story sometimes. Have some songs on tape or a story taped for the children for those rare nights when it is not feasible for you to sing or read. This also helps the child to go to bed when for some reason you aren't there. Just be sure to let who ever is watching them know what the bedtime routine is.
- Take the children to bed. It really is easier for you to take the child to bed then it is for you to tell the child to go to bed and then argue about if for the next forty-five minutes. Think about all the little tricks (needs) that the child may try to play. Met these need before they go to bed.
Just remember that the more consistent you are in making and keeping the nightly routine, the faster they will learn to co-operate.
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