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Tips For Getting Your Preschooler To Bed

Nov 27, 2007
Parents often have a hard time understanding why their kids don't want to go to bed. At the end of the day, all mom and dad can think about is getting some sleep, but kids aren't built that way. Children are excited about the world and worried about missing out on the slightest event. It's rare that they're up past their bedtime to see what's going on, and children often wonder about the fun that goes on after they head to bed. There are several tips you can use to get your kids to go to bed without a fight each night.

First, keep in mind that kids need the chance to wind down before they go to bed. If you were having a tickle war ten minutes before bedtime, your children are going to have too much adrenaline in their bodies to go to sleep. You are setting yourself up for a fight.

Give your preschooler 20 minutes or more so he or she can wind down at the end of the day. Stop all active play so you can sit with your child and do something quite for a while before bed. This will help the child's body to calm down and be ready for sleep. A warm bath can help if it is at the beginning of downtime, but many children have trouble going to sleep immediately after having a bath.

A bedtime routine is essential for any preschool child. This is particularly true when you have one that fights bedtime. You will need to set your own routine, but one thing that helps control the temper tantrums is to give your child a warning about what is coming.

Perhaps ten minutes before bedtime, let your child know that it is time to wrap things up. Then you will have him do his nightly routine, such as brushing his teeth and changing into his pajamas. A story, prayers, or a short conversation could follow this while he is tucked in bed, and then some hugs and kisses from mom or dad. This assures the child that you love him and are not putting him to bed just because you want to be rid of him for the night. Since each step follows the one before it in the same manner every night, he will know what to expect.

If your child faces fears at night, such as the fear of the dark, make a plan together that will help him feel safer. Ask your child if a nightlight does the trick. Perhaps you should have a plan in place where you check on your child a couple of times an hour. When you do this, your child knows you are nearby if there is a problem, which will help calm bedtime fears. Avoid making your child feel immature or dumb for being afraid. Remember, fears are a normal part of childhood, and you probably experienced some once too.

With a good ritual, some time to wind down, and a plan to ease fears, you can turn the bedtime tantrums into a time where you make memories with your child. Be firm but loving, and soon you will be able to enjoy the evening routine. A well-rested child is a happy child, and you will both enjoy the day when your child is awake!
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