Having bedtime battles with your children is absolutely no fun. I know because I have been there and done that. And through my experience I have learned what works and what doesn’t. These are 7 ways to stop having bedtime battles with your children so that you can have more peaceful evenings and nights.
1. Have a Set Bedtime
One thing you can do to prevent bedtime battles with your children is to have a set bedtime for them. If there is a set bedtime, you have eliminated one argument. There is now no reason to argue over when your child will be going to bed because you both know. While it is okay to have a little leeway on special occasions, the more closely you stick to that set bedtime, the better. If you are consistent, your child will know there is no reason to try to argue with you because you will not change your mind.
2. Have a Bedtime Routine
Even adults need a bedtime routine. A bedtime routine is simply something that helps us wind down and tells our body that it is time to rest. For your child, a bedtime routine might include a bath, a story and a snack. Whatever helps your child to wind down and be ready to relax is what you are aiming for here. It may take a bit of trial and error before you find the routine that works best for your child.
3. Refuse to Engage with Them
Nothing makes an argument with a child die quicker than refusing to engage with them. If they can get you to engage in arguing, they believe they can wear you down. When you refuse to enter an argument with them, they know there is no chance of getting their way. When they start trying to argue, tell them the topic isn’t open for discussion and don’t answer them if they continue trying to argue with you. They will quickly figure out they are wasting their time.
4. Don’t Give in
It is absolutely okay to extend bedtime for special occasions like sleepovers, holidays or vacations. But your child needs to understand that it is for a special occasion and that they will be going back to their regular bedtime. If you begin to give in when there is no special reason, they will think that bedtime doesn’t mean anything. They will think it isn’t an important thing and will up their bedtime battles with you. Consistency is what counts with children in many situations.
5. Point out How Being Tired Makes You Feel
Sometimes it helps to talk about why we need bedtimes. It is good to help your child to realize that their body needs sleep to be healthy and grow. Remind them of a recent time when they were tired and point out how badly being tired can make them feel. Remind them how good they feel after a good night’s sleep. Understanding why they need a bedtime can help stop bedtime battles.
6. Make Bedtime Fun
Bedtime should have fun involved. Think about what you can do to make it that way for your child. Let them choose a story book to read together at night. Maybe you could play a board game in the hour before bed. You could just make a special time to talk and connect with them. The point is that you build some special moments into bedtime so it isn’t something to dread.
7. Point out That You Have a Bedtime, Too
It can be good to remind your child that you have a bedtime, too. Many times children believe that their parents are up having fun for hours beyond when they go to sleep. Tell them what you really do, whether it is finishing up some chores, watching a television show or getting into your own bedtime routine. Once they understand that everyone has a bedtime, it may not seem so bad anymore. You have also taken the curiosity out of what parents do after they go to bed.
Bedtime battles are something that all parents deal with from time to time, but these are some tricks that can help you with that. What other things have you found that work?