You’ve just tucked in all the kids, poured yourself a nice glass of wine and are ready to press play on the PVR to catch up on The Good Wife when you hear little feet in the hallway. Here he comes… All cute in his adorable onsie pajamas and smelling sweet from the bath. No longer cute after the 15th time…
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Hi, I’m Dana, welcome to this weeks video. Today I want to talk about a toddler coming out of his room repeatedly. It is by far the most common toddler challenge that a lot of parents have. Once they’re in bed, maybe they sleep all night but it takes you an hour to finally convince this little person to stay in her bed or you get a little visitor in the night repeatedly and so really common for toddlers to push this boundaries. I don’t know anyone who sails through the toddler years without any kind of aggression around bedtime or sleep so rest assured you’re not the only one but here are some tips for dealing with it.
Number one is you need to give one warning and one warning only, not as really a big mistake I see a lot of parents make and just everything parenting is that they’re too inconsistent with the warning. One time it’s one warning, the next time it’s five, sometimes it’s twenty and it leaves the child feeling really lost as to how hard do I push you before I reach the consequence. If you just adapt a one warning only rule and you apply it to everything, I promise that’s going to make life a little easier for you in the long run but certainly around coming out, so you tuck your toddler in, you say “Night, night.” You leave the room, five minutes later you’ve got a little visitor.
You march her back to your bed, you tell her “That is your one warning, if you come out again then X.” There has to be some sort of a consequence, if there’s no consequence then this a game. She’s just going to keep coming out to visit you, it doesn’t matter if you lose your temper with her, I want you to remember that even negative attention is still attention and toddlers will seek attention in any way it’s coming. You really have to remain calm and consequence it. A great consequence that I use all the time with my own kids, I use it with all my clients’ kids, I tell everybody about it, is the closing the door all the way consequence.
All you have to say to your toddler is “If you come out again, I’m going to lock your door.” Now, are you really going to lock the door? Most likely not but they don’t know that. Let’s say that she comes out again for a second visit, you march her back to her room, you close the door all the way to click and you just hold it closed for one or two minutes. You don’t have to start huge, just start with a minute or two and even if she’s on the other side, upset about what’s happening, it’s just for a minute, she’ll be fine and that’s a good consequence.
Next time she does it again, now you increase the time you hold the time closed by a minute or two each time and I promise you, toddlers don’t like it. The interesting thing is … About a consequence is that you don’t want her to like it. One day I remember having a client say to me “Oh, I can’t do that, she’ll hate it.” Yes, we want her to hate it because we don’t want her to continue the behavior and if she know the consequence is … That she doesn’t like it enough, she’ll stay in her room. That’s a great way to do it. You can also, if that doesn’t fit right with you, you can alternate between if they have a lovey, you can say “Okay, if come out of your room again then baby has to come with me,” and you do the same principles with the lovey or you take it away for increments of time, longer and longer until the child realizes “Huh, yeah that’s too long, I didn’t like that. I didn’t like it enough that I’m going stop coming out of my room.”
That really solves the problem and keep your talking to them minimum. Another common mistakes parents make is that they explain and they explain it more and they talk more and they get into negotiations with the three year old. All of that again is just attention, you’re just giving your child way too much attention around this and that’s just going to provoke her to keep doing it. You only have to say the warning one time, you don’t have to keep repeating it, she’s smart enough to know what you’ve said and you just follow through with a consequence every single time and that will stop the behavior.
Thanks so much for watching today.Sleep well!
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