Bedtime can be stressful. You’ve had a hard day and all you really want is your little one to go to sleep so you can take a hot shower and drink a glass of wine – and relax.
But she has other plans. She’s still wired to go and wants to read stories, play with her toys, and pretty much do anything BUT go to sleep.
Do you have sleepytime battles with your little ones?
Here are some tried and true tips to help you conduct your own Bedtime Bootcamp and take back your sanity at bedtime.
1. Make the commitment. It will try you. You’ll want to give up. It’s called bootcamp for a reason. Not only is it training for the child, it is also training for the adults too.
2. Set a routine. Dinner, bathtime, storytime, bedtime. Whatever your routine is, stick to it.
3. Use simple instructions. Don’t overcomplicate it. Kids need to know what is happening because they are not in control of much of what happens in their day. 2 year olds will try to exert as much control as possible – which is where often times there are battles of the will. Choose your battles. Stick to your guns. When it’s bedtime, tell her “it’s time for bed. Let’s go to your room and I will tuck you in.” Tuck her in and say, “good night, I love you. I will see you in the morning.” Then close the door.
4. Repeat as needed. Each time she comes out of her room. Take her back to her room and tell her goodnight. DO NOT GIVE IN. DO NOT STAY IN THE ROOM UNTIL SHE FALLS ASLEEP.
5. Remember, what you do during this bedtime bootcamp is what will become the routine. The simpler the instructions, and the swifter the follow through, the faster this will be done. Tip: the longer you wait to put her back in bed, the longer your nights will be – the longer it will take her to go back asleep and the more nights it will take.
6. Sleep with your bedroom door open or cracked for the first few nights at least so you can hear if she comes out of her room. If she is super persistent, you may want to install a baby gate to the door of her room. This way she can open the door (as some children are afraid to sleep with the door closed because it is too dark or quiet), but she can’t go wandering around the house at night. If you have stairs like we do, this may be the safest option.
7. Be prepared for this to take a few nights. 3 nights to a week is normal.
8. WORK AS A TEAM. Your child will know who the weakest link is and will exploit that one link. You ALL must have the same routine. You all must stay on the same page. If you do this, you will succeed. If not, you have a long road in front of you: a long and possibly frustrating sleep-deprived road.
9. DO NOT GIVE AWAY YOUR POWER. If you are on bedtime duty, do not break. Do not pass off your authority or you will never be successful. If you say, I’m going to go get Daddy, then your child will know that they do not have to listen to you and that you will not follow through. This bedtime bootcamp will not work for you.
10. Enjoy your success. You’ve earned it!
Looking for more ways to be organized and in control of your schedule at home?
Have different bedtime routines? Leave a comment below and share your bedtime routine secrets!