Children are smart! They know their instincts and they know them well. Every night just before you even think about putting your children to bed, they know what thought is about to cross your mind and so the rounds begin. Perhaps they flick their super charm switch, or they lead you to the forefront of the battlegrounds. You both try to psych each other out, but in the end, you are still fighting the same battle yet again. The point now is trying to avoid the battle all together. Having said that, parents everywhere just sighed an exasperated, Duh! But lets try this; here are a few tips that you probably have not considered:
The first thing that you need to realize is that habits are what children thrive on. Once on a routine, they will be able to grow and learn more quickly and with better results. The last thing their little bodies need is to always be guessing when they are going to get their rest and how much rest they will receive. You need to eliminate the guessing game, and eliminate the surprises. Include them on the decision of their bedtime. Ultimately, yes, the decision is up to you. However, if you make your child feel included on what they will be doing, then they will be less apt to feel as though it is a punishment, and they will feel better about doing the discussed task. Sit your child down and explain to them that there will be a set bedtime that will not be disputed later, but rather stuck to. Then give them options that will be suitable for them. Choosing a bedtime between 7pm and 9pm would be reasonable.
Once you have come to an agreement, now it is time to implement it. There will be no exceptions for the bedtime. Children tend to feel as though they might miss some excitement by going to bed. Their favorite movie might just be starting as it is time for them to head to bed, or they were in the middle of a lively game. These, too, are elements you should consider removing. Before they head to bed, you want them to wind down and relax.
Starting after dinner would probably be the best time. You know that when your belly is full that nothing sounds better than a good nap. So when their bellies are full, start slowing the mood down and concentrate on activities that are less likely to get them riled up. Perhaps you want to read to them or have them concentrate on a coloring book. Television is ok, however, you will probably hear, just one more show mom! or But my favorite movie is on! So beware.
At the appointed time to go to bed, head them to their rooms. It is imperative that you do not make them feel as though they are being punished. Try explaining to them that they should enjoy their sleep and it is far from a punishment. Keep it simple. Do not make a big deal out of bedtime, but simply kiss them goodnight and leave the room. You could read to them, or you could just leave them with some soft music playing that will lull them to sleep.
If you are struggling to get your children to sleep, please relax. Consider these tips and adjust them how you feel they would benefit your children most.