Then you realize what's happening... you have a smart, very smart toddler on your hands. They know JUST what to say to get out of bed. They know just what to do to pull at your heart strings to get you to say yes.
- Clock turns blue
- Clean up time
- Floss and brush teeth, and brush hair
- Pick and read 2 books
- Snuggle time
- Go potty and get changed
- Lights out, sound on, curtains closed
- Kisses, hugs, and "boo"
- When the clock turns blue, bedtime routine starts.
- Once in bed- Sleep, read or talk quietly. And by quietly we mean "whisper".
- Stay in bed until the clock turns yellow (in the morning).
- If something's needed, call Mama or Daddy, nicely. Do not get out of bed.
- We will not respond to crying or screaming other than reminders to ask nicely.
- Only 3 stuffed animals allowed in bed.
- Only 3 books allowed on bedside table.
- We read books and do snuggles on Mama and Daddy's bed so there is a defining moment when bedtime starts (when we enter Caroline's room).
- Potty is the last thing before entering Caroline's room.
- Consequences for not listening or lying are
immediate, as are rewards.
- If she refuses to brush teeth, a story gets taken away.
- If she listens very well when getting ready, she gets an extra book.
- If she lies about having to go potty after lights are out, an item gets taken away from her bed (stuffed animal or book).
- She's getting stickers for whispering and staying quiet after we leave the room (stickers are given the next morning).
We were trusting her requests instead of our parental instincts,
- Set a consistent
We have all of our bedtimes listed for each specific age on the schedules page. At 2.5 years old, we have the ok to wake clock turn blue at 7 pm. This starts our bedtime routine above of clean up time. We let her finish what she was doing as long as it is a reasonable amount of time.
- Avoid TV,
roughhousing, and wrestling so your child has an easier time winding down.
I think a good rule of thumb is that the last 30 minutes leading up to bedtime should be low key if at all possible. That works well for us.
- Avoid conflict
prior to bedtime. Do not ask if your child is ready to go to bed allowing
them to say "no". Tell them it is time and assist them.
We have never run into power struggles with it being time for bed, thanks to the ok to wake clock that we use. It is a clear indication of bedtime. Now, when it comes to brushing teeth, that can be a different story. We just enforce consequences immediately if she's refusing to do any part of the routine, and that often leads to privileges and/or items being taken away.
- Keep your
child's bedtime consistent (hire babysitters if you'll be out late).
I think it is so important to be home for bedtime. We prioritize sleep around here. Now that being said, we make sure to enjoy the moments as well, and the occasional deviation from schedule is not the end of the world- as long as it's the exception.
- Do not allow too
many liquids after dinner for potty-trained children.
Sips and tiny sips only after dinner. The very last thing we do in our routine is go potty. I'd caution to be careful with a newly potty trained or potty training toddler not to get frustrated if they ask to go potty. You want to reward for your child recognizing that they have to go and asking. This is a fine line, however, because they quickly learn that it gets them out of bed. Just be very in tune to your child, and if you feel like they are starting to take advantage, you are right... get firm and consistent with your expectations.
- Consider doing
your storytime out on the couch or somewhere not in the child's bed. This
way, when storytime is over, there is a place to go (bed). This will help
avoid the delaying bedtime tactics of asking for more. "If you keep
storytime in the bedroom, you never finish because the child has no place
else to go" (page 56)
This was our BIG CHANGE recently, and it has made a HUGE difference. Caroline was asking for snuggles, and more snuggles, and to be held, and one more kiss, and boo, and snug as a bug, and, and, and. It was getting out of control. So, we relocated to Mama and Daddy's bed for storytime and snuggles. That way, we got to keep our special snuggle time, but there is an end. Caroline now knows that going into her room is the real deal and it is bedtime, not time to ask for more.
- Allow your child
to fall asleep on their own. Offer a stuffed animal or blanket and then
leave the room.
This one is huge. We did sleep training at 4 months old and will always be thankful that we did. Caroline has put herself to sleep ever since and does not rely on us to help her. This helps if and when she wakes in the middle of the night, in that she doesn't need our assistance to go back to sleep.
- Make a rule that
the child is not to get out of bed unless there is an emergency. Be clear
on what an emergency is.
As soon as we transitioned Caroline to a twin bed, we put this rule into place. The ok to wake clock helped tremendously on giving her a visual as to when it would be ok to get out of bed. We've taught her to call for us and she's taken to it very well.
Many people have asked what we do for using the potty. We just have her call, and we take her. We don't keep a small potty in the room. She wouldn't be able to pull her underwear down and wipe all on her own anyway (this was written when she was 2.5 years old and not yet doing this), so we just take her to the bathroom once she calls and help her out.
- If your bedtime
routine gets rushed or happens late, consider playing soft music to help
your child wind down.
This is another change we've been considering making, and I believe the ok to wake clock we use has an easy way to do this right on the clock!
Katrina is a babywise mom of 3 (A 3 year old, one angel baby, and one on the way). She is a mom that uses schedules and routines, but also cloth diapers, makes her own baby food and baby wears! She is very passionate about the benefits of breastfeeding on a schedule, and a huge advocate of doing what’s right for YOUR family. Keep it real with her over at MamasOrganizedChaos.com