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Bedtime struggles

Do you have trouble putting your child to bed? Does your child like to get out of bed after you leave the room? Many parents struggle with this same situation. Getting your child to bed may be the most difficult part of the day.

It is easy to get upset with children at the end of the day when you and your child are tired. Here are some tips to help you get through the night without getting upset or frustrated.

Set a routine. Have a set routine­ meaning that each day you do the same things in the same order as they get ready for bed. Be consistent in the time you start getting your children ready for bed.

Give your child choices. Give your child choices like which book they'd like to read or what pajamas they want to wear. Giving choices when they are young helps children learn and become independent as they make decisions. Giving your child choices can help your child understand what is expected of him and can help him later in life as well as now.

Use a calm comforting voice. Set firm loving limits, without using threats, lecturing or anger. It is important to use a calm, comforting voice when talking to your child.

Give warnings. Tell your children, “You have 5 minutes until you have to get ready for bed.” This warning will help them make the adjustment to bedtime.

Be flexible but be in charge. Have a set amount of time for the routine. It’s ok to spend a little more time than usual on a particular step of the routine but don’t spend too much time on any step.

Have both parents involved in the bedtime routine if possible. Using different parenting styles can help you and your child learn. Work together to help your child learn and grow.

Show empathy and help your child feel understood when children don’t want to go to bed just yet.

Getting a child to bed may be difficult, but not impossible. Be intentional about the way you interact with your child and remember to never give up!