There is no question that bedtime can turn into a real struggle when you are trying to get your kids to go to sleep, but they seem to have other ideas in mind.
Tucking them in and turning off the lights, should hopefully mean that you can then turn your own thoughts to a comfortable snooze in your bed, but what do you do if your own bedtime plans are thwarted by some stubborn resistance and reluctance shown by your kids to get to sleep?
Bedtime needs to be a pleasant experience
It is perfectly understandable that you want to stamp your parental authority on the bedtime routine and many of us still have plenty of things to do before we can even think about getting to bed ourselves.
This awareness that the clock is ticking can cause you to feel frustrated and if this turns into a battle of wills on a regular basis, you could find that bad behavior and resistance might actually escalate.
Your goal needs to be about making bedtime a pleasant experience and associating the normal routine with pleasant thoughts, rather than your kids getting agitated and argumentative almost by default, each time the nightly arrangements start over.
Younger ones need to learn the ropes
The first thing you need to consider is the age of your child, and to make allowances based on their stage of development.
One aspect to take into account is that with younger children, they have yet to reach their development potential when it comes to problem-solving skills. This is relevant, as it can often mean that they experience issues with impulsivity and can often get quickly frustrated as a result.
If bedtime starts to cause them frustration but they can’t quite yet articulate those emotions and channel them in the right way, you could soon find that bedtime quickly becomes a real battle, unless you make some reasonable allowances for their emotional limitations and work on associating positive thoughts with the nighttime routine.
Structure is key
When your day has a certain structure and routine to it, this often helps things to go more smoothly, which is a good reason to ensure that your bedtime routine also has that same level of regularity about it, so that your kids know what is expected of them every night.
There will always be a few nights when the rules are going to be difficult to apply, if there is something going on like a family gathering, but as a general rule, you will often find that your children respond well to rules and limitations at bedtime.
It can often be the case that your kids will be less rather than more anxious by having some firm rules being applied to their bedtime routine.
There are a lot of positive aspects to having a specific structure to your bedtime routine and although it may be a battle of wills and test your patience as you attempt to enforce these rules on a daily basis and set a pattern, your perseverance should pay off with a less stressful bedtime experience going forward.
Winding things down
You will find that there are many differing voices of opinion available when it comes to handling nighttime battles, but one piece of advice that you will often find amongst the various pearls of wisdom, is the need to wind things down and ensure that there is a bit of quiet time introduced before they head to bed.
Most kids are exposed to a fair amount of mental stimulation throughout the day, with TV, computer games and a whole host of activities that can keep their brain whirring, which is why it makes a lot of sense to get them to do something less stimulating and more relaxing, such as reading a book or maybe even listening to some soothing music.
A relaxing bath often works wonders in relaxing your child and getting them into the right night time zone for a successful and uneventful progression towards heading off to sleep. It is also important to teach your child how to get themselves ready for bed and how to fall asleep by themselves.
You can also help your child to learn how to assume the responsibility of getting themselves ready for bed when the time comes around, by getting them their own alarm clock. It doesn’t have to be one that has a bell that rivals a fire alarm, but learning when bedtime is and when it is time to get up, can definitely help them to become much more compliant.
Ella Thompson is a Mom of three who can be found online sharing her parenting wisdom, as well as some fantastic failures! She enjoys writing articles once the kids are in bed, sharing her successes and mistakes plus using family life as a starting point for article topics.