How do you get kids who share a room to stop playing and talking when it’s time to go to bed? That is the topic of today’s video chat!View Transcript
Dana Obleman: Hi, I’m Dana Obleman. Welcome to this week’s video chat.
Today, our question comes from Brandy, and she writes, “My two boys, age six and two and a half, are currently in separate rooms, but in the next six months, they’re going to have to share a room. How do I do that and minimize all the talking and fooling around?”
That’s a really great question, Brandy. One thing to keep in mind is that sharing a room will always have some challenges, but there definitely is a way to do it to keep it at a minimum, absolutely.
There are lots of people who, this is a reality, that children just simply have to share a room. There’s no options around that. I’m going to give you three tips to make this as painless as possible on everyone involved.
Number one is to let them have a bit of playtime. I know that sounds a bit silly when you want them to go to sleep for the night, but by offering children some time to giggle, to chat, to have a bit of fun can often solve the problems before they even start.
My advice would be to get yourself a timer, set it for 10 minutes, and say to them, “Listen. You can talk and play. You have to stay in your beds, obviously, but you can talk for a little while until the timer goes off. Once the timer goes off, though, it’s quiet time. There’s absolutely no more talking after that.”
That just gives them a little bit of freedom to have some time together in those few minutes once they’re tucked in and the lights are out. However, when the timer goes off, you absolutely have to hold them to that. We can’t make rules work unless they’re rules and we follow them every single time.
There has to be some consequence around not following this rule. If you’ve heard the timer go and a couple of minutes later you hear giggling and talking, you’re going to need to go in there and give one warning, “The timer has gone off, you need to be quiet now, or else…”
Something has to happen. There has to be some sort of consequence, or they’re not going to stop fooling around. It doesn’t matter how many times you come back to the door and tell them to stop, get angry, and maybe even raise your voice around this. It’s not going to stop unless there’s a consequence.
I’m going to give you a couple of appropriate consequences that I find work really well with children this age. One would be to close the door all the way. Most children like the idea of the door being open, even a little bit or a crack.
For whatever reason, they don’t like the idea of a door being closed solidly. That’s a consequence, “If you can’t be quiet and lay in your beds, I’m going to have to close the door.” Then, you need to follow through with that.
However, what tends to happen is people back themselves into corners around this and they say things like, if you can’t be quiet I’m going to lock the door all night or I’m going to close the door. It’s hard to follow through with that. Take it in small little steps. My advice would be if you have to do the consequence, close the door for a minute or two. Sometimes, that is long enough and your child does not like it enough that, that stops the behavior.
After the two minutes, you open the door again, the crack and you let them have another chance. Again, if you hear some fooling around going on a few minutes later you’re going to come and close the door all the way for a couple of minutes longer this time.
Every time you have to go back you’re increasing the time the door is closed. There will come a time when the child really doesn’t like it. That’s what you want. Sometimes we get confused about what a consequence is. You don’t want your child to like it.
The more they dislike it, the better it’s going to work. Another strategy would be take away the lovey. Most children have a security object of some kind, whether it’s a toy or a blankie. You go in and give your one warning and say. “Listen, if you cannot be quiet in your beds, I’m going to have to take your lovey.”
Again, you’re not going to back yourself into a corner around it. You’re not going to take it for the rest of the night. You’re just going to take it in the same strategy as closing the door. Increments of time, that gets increasingly longer and longer every time your child test you. That’s a great way to minimize fooling around at bedtime, set some clear boundaries about your expectations and follow through with some really good consequences.
All right. We would love to hear your comments if you have children that share a room, and you have come up with a strategy. We would love to hear it, or if you got some questions about your own child’s sleep, please add it in the comments section.
Thanks so much for watching. Sleep well.[music]
If you are looking for even more advice for your baby’s sleep head over to sleepsource.net to answer five easy questions and get a free sleep evaluation for your child.[end]
Transcription by CastingWords
Also, if you’re looking for a complete, step-by-step guide that will help you get your baby or toddler sleeping straight through the night check out The Sleep Sense Program.
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