Imagine this scenario, it is already five minutes past bedtime, on the night that you started the bedtime routine a bit early. The sole purpose of starting early was to actually wrap things up on time for once but somehow your very awake child has managed to hold you hostage in their room, yet again.
This is the third time this week, and it’s only Wednesday!
Each day they have a new excuse, a new guilt trip to lay on you. They claim that they are thirsty, hungry, have to pee, or need an extra story. Or the ever so urgent conversation that can’t wait until morning has to happen now, after bedtime, because it is that important. The worst part is, it’s working and you are struggling to find a way to get out of it and are desperate for a solution to prevent this from happening again. These real solutions for Making Kids Stick to a Bedtime Routine are sure to save you from a bedtime breakdown.
Wear Them Out!
Give them a chance to burn off all of that built up energy that may be lingering before it becomes a problem at bedtime. Spend some time having a family dance party or a game of monkey in the middle an hour before the bedtime routine starts. Test this out on a night that you have a little more patience in case it backfires. Some kids take longer to get worn out and a family dance party will require the family to get involved, no matter how tired you are.
Calm Them Down!
Meditation or Quiet Time Activities are the perfect way to get your kids in the proper mindset for sleeping. Reading or keeping a gratitude journal can be a great way to wind down and get all of their thoughts out before heading off to bed. Sometimes their minds are working so hard it can be hard to shut down so abruptly and kids don’t exactly prepare themselves for downtime, they avoid it as much as possible.
Give them What they Want before They Want It
If your kids are always making the same demands during the bedtime routine, it may be time to switch things up. If they always complain of being hungry before bed, give them a snack a half hour before bed. If they always say that they are thirsty after heading to bed, make sure they have a drink to sip on through the night.
Give them More Privileges
This may sound crazy at first but hear me out. If your kids like to dilly dally with the sole purpose of staying up later, it may be easier to leave some things up to them, within reason of course. If they usually rely on your for drinks or trips to the bathroom, allow them to get up on their own to take care of these needs but be sure to set time limits for each task. Five minutes should be plenty of time to run down the hall to the bathroom or to pour a cup of water if they exceed this time, there needs to be a punishment that you always stick to.
Punishments for Breaking the Rules
Just because it’s bedtime doesn’t mean you should allow chaos to take place. If you have set the rules and they continue the bad behavior, there needs to be a negative consequence. Not all punishments fit all transgressions so be sure to carefully plan out consequences for each action. Taking away a toy for the next day and only returning it after a successful night of the bedtime routine has been completed can be very effective.
The most important part of parenting and especially when it comes to a bedtime routine or any routine for that matter is that you have to follow through, every time. Letting your kids know how easy it is to make you give in to their demands is the sole reason that they even have demands, don’t teach them this behavior is acceptable by rewarding them and giving them what they want. Instead, give them what they need by teaching them to be respectful of your rules.
You Can Always Bribe Them…
If your kids are at an age where some of the other bedtime routine solutions you have tried just aren’t cutting it, you can always bribe them. Try giving them tickets that represent things that they want like an extra story or another hug. If they don’t use any tickets all week, they can get a prize. Rewarding good behavior with a positive experience is a great way to let your kids know that their efforts have not gone unnoticed. This will encourage them to try their hardest to keep the streak alive and to continue following the rules.
What has your family struggled with most during your bedtime routine?