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  • Writer's pictureEvelyn Mendal, LMHC

Bedtime Battles Be Gone! 4 Tips for a Smoother Bedtime

Bedtime battles are not uncommon in a toddler or preschooler’s home. Parents’ stress levels tend to increase as quickly as the night sky approaches. Meltdowns, sudden pangs of hunger, potty needs, and extra book requests all flood in as toddlers and preschoolers try to figure out what works to delay this moment of “goodbye till tomorrow.”

Well, we’ve gotcha covered with four golden tips that are sure to reduce those bedtime battles.

1. Have a solid routine:

When little humans can predict what will happen next by what they are doing now, they can mentally prepare way better. For example, the post-bath diaper change may signal to a child that their pajamas and milk are up next. Try to keep the routine as consistent as possible in order to get the best outcomes. They will definitely test whether or not there is room for change in the routine (e.g., “what happens when I say I want to play?”).

2. Don’t give into requests too often:

Who knew they’d outsmart you in just their first few years of life? Nothing falls short of extraordinary when thinking about some of the requests these kids can come up with. Avoiding giving in as much as possible, as these are often delay tactics. You will get to know your child’s true needs and can prepare the room ahead of time (e.g., placing their water on their nightstand, teddy inside the crib, etc.)

3. Make a good-night plan:

If it were up to your preschooler, your goodnight cuddle would last until dawn - maybe if it were up to you, you’d choose the same! Create a good-night plan with your child and practice ahead of time. Maybe it consists of a timed cuddle session and then a kiss on the nose...or maybe its four delicious hugs followed by three kisses. Anything goes!

4. Avoid lingering:

If you’ve told your child that you are walking out of the room 20 times, yet you’re still in there, this can be a problem. Your child leans into your actions even more than your words during times like these. When you tell your child that they are capable of sleeping independently, yet you can’t seem to leave them alone, what message does your child receive about your trust in their competence?

Some nights will be better than others but the more consistent you are with your bedtime routine, the smoother it will run--now, doesn’t this sound like the sweetest dream?

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