This post is contributed.
Kids are absolute masterminds when it comes to bedtime. Any parent out there will know the battles that come with implementing a great bedtime routine that helps them to get the rest that they need. It’s especially difficult when your kids leave the baby years and enter the cute preschooler years where they actually have valid arguments for why they don’t want to do something. Some of the reasons that children concoct to get out of going to bed include – but are not limited to;
- Monsters under the bed
- They’re afraid of the dark (except yesterday, the dark was better than the light)
- They’re not tired yet (hello, yawn)
- They’re sick and need water – insert feeble cough
- That’s not the right cup for water
- Where is the ice for the water?
- Can I have a straw with my water?
- Can I have a story?
- Maybe a song?
- A cuddle?
And on, and on it goes. Children play parents like a fiddle when it comes to doing something that they don’t want to do, and bedtime is something that they really don’t want to do! Routine is so key for children, and when it comes to daily routine upsets – such as visiting the kids dentist or a doctor’s appointment – you can expect a level of disruption at bed time. There are some strategies that you to use, though, to beat the bedtime stall regardless of the daily interruption and we’ve got four of them for you below:
Prepare. Bedtimes are always a peculiar thing, because it’s the first time you learn that your child has a touch of OCD and their teddies have to be lined up just so and they need the right kind of cup for their bedtime drink. You need to make sure their beds look inviting enough for them to get straight in to without argument.
Routine. I’ll say it over and over – you need to keep that routine sharp. Brushing teeth, getting pyjamas on, story time and a drink all should happen in the exact same order – even when the miniature dictators are protesting that they don’t have even blue and red stripes on their toothpaste. Even when they’re opinionated, you need to stick to the schedule that you’re used to because while they may argue they are still the children. You cannot let them win!
No Negotiation. It’s nice that the kids want an input on what they do at bedtime. Anxiety is natural – they’re going to be without you in the dark and alone. However, you can tell the difference between bedtime anxiety and playing the system. You do not negotiate with terrorists – even the small ones that live in your house. Fake crying – you got this, you know the difference between fake and real tears. Be rigid in your cuddles and routines and you can keep them settled.
Bedtime Story. When all fails and you’ve tried everything, one extra bedtime story is going to go a long way with your children. It doesn’t have to be the encyclopaedia – it just needs to be a short enough story to remind the children that you will always come back.
Bedtime – it’s not for the faint of heart. But it is for parents!