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The Bedtime Parade: Tackling Toddler Bedtime Challenges

When you have little ones at home, especially multiple kids close in age, bedtime can sometimes feel like a never-ending parade. As a mom who once had three children under the age of four, I distinctly remember this phase. Just when you think it’s time for some much-needed peace, out comes one child with a request. And then another. The pattern can be endearing at first, but as the hour ticks by, it can get a bit frustrating. Let’s delve into some tips and tricks I’ve found effective for dealing with this bedtime parade.

Setting a Positive Tone

  • Reward Good Behavior: Instead of only focusing on consequences for coming out of bed, set a positive tone by offering rewards for good behavior. For instance, if your toddler stays in bed after saying goodnight, maybe there’s a treat or special activity waiting for them in the morning.
  • Use a Clock: Introducing a clock in your toddler’s room can be a game-changer. Whether it’s an “okay to wake” clock or a standard clock radio (with the minutes covered so they only see the hour), it sets a clear boundary. Teach them that when the clock hits a particular time, it’s okay to get up. Pairing this with a reward can be especially effective.

Addressing the Bedtime Parade

  • It’s Not Just Fun & Games: Understand that while the parade might seem like a game to your child, it’s often about attention. Even if it’s negative attention, like you raising your voice, many children might continue the behavior because it gets them noticed.
  • Give a Warning: Allow for one warning, as there might be something genuinely pressing they wanted to tell you. But after that, if they come out of their room, there should be a consequence.
  • Implementing Consequences: My personal favorite approach is to close their bedroom door entirely, but only for short periods. The first time they come out after the warning, close the door for a minute. If they come out again, close it for two minutes, then three, and so on. Many kids dislike the door being completely shut, making it an effective deterrent. Remember, this isn’t about locking them in, but establishing boundaries.

Bedtime doesn’t have to be a challenging parade every night. With some consistency, clear boundaries, and positive reinforcement, you can create a bedtime routine that works for both you and your little ones.

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Dana’s Sleep Blog

Straight talk about sleep, parenting,
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My blog is a great place to find opinions, advice, the occasional rant, and some great videos about sleep.

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