You’d had a busy Saturday morning, errands, with your 4-year-old child. You are looking forward to relaxing a little before you start the laundry. You stretch out on the soft, comfortable couch… Suddenly you remember last night, and the night before that, and the night before that, and…
Maybe now is your chance. Maybe you can use The 1 Rule to solve your problem. You know you don’t want to go through dealing with their stalling at bedtime…again!
“One more story, Mommy, pleeeese.”
“I already read three extra stories.”
Or… “Mommy, I’m thirsty. I want to get a drink of water” …after they are already tucked in bed …or even after you think they are asleep…
Or… “Mommy, please stay until I go to sleep.” …and you do…and you fall asleep…there goes your evening…
Bedtime and The 1 Rule
What can you do when your child never wants to go to bed at their bedtime. They always stall, “Just one more…”
Here are some suggestions to help:
Ask for their help. Sometime when you are both in a good mood and don’t have anything stressful going on, tell them that you have a problem and that you need their help to solve it.
Since it is something that bothers you, it is your problem and not their’s.
Tell them that you want, or need, them to go to bed at their bedtime without always having to do one more thing, but that you don’t want to force them to do things that they would never want to.
Explain the honest reasons that you want them to go to bed at the time that has been set for their bed time. If you’re not really clear on all the important reasons why that time has been chosen, you might think this out before you have the meeting.
Make sure they have understood your reasons for wanting them in bed at a certain time. Ask them if they have reasons for not wanting to go to bed at their bedtime. They may have important reasons for their behavior.
Also remember that you as parents are their models for appropriate human behavior. Do you go to bed at the same time they are expected to? Do you usually stay up late? Children naturally balk at the double standard that this culture imposes on adults and children.
They try to model their behavior on the behavior of their loved parents, or their loved older brother or sister. Just for information, not all cultures have bedtimes for children.
Tell them that you would like their help to work out something about bedtime that you all agree on. If this is an issue for their father or anyone else in the family, they should be at the meeting, too.
Possible Brainstorming Ideas:
• You might agree to a different time
• They can go to bed at a different time each day, even if it’s a few minutes different, and this time is decided the night before, or that morning, or after dinner, or…
• They go to their room, but go to bed when they decide to
• They go to bed whenever they want
• They get to sleep wherever they want
• They get to sleep with someone whenever they want to
• Their cats get to sleep with them
• Twice a week they get to go on night walks
They might agree to the present situation:
• Just because you have taken the time to find a mutually agreeable solution to this situation
• If they get told an hour before bedtime to start getting ready
• If they set a timer, or an alarm clock for themselves, leaving enough time to get ready
• If they are totally responsible for getting themselves to bed at the agreed upon time
By doing all these they know and understand all your reasons for wanting them in bed at that time
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