Avoid bedtime battles

Call a truce and avoid bedtime battles forever!

avoid bedtime battles

Find out how you can avoid bedtime battles when kids refuse to go to sleep.

“Mommy, I’m not sleepy.”

“But I need to hug you again, Daddy!”

“I’m hungry and I have to go the bathroom.”

Do these sound familiar? These may just be the exact ones that your child says to you night after night just to avoid bed time. Kids, no matter how tired they are, just don’t seem to want to go to bed when you want them to. They make up loads of imaginative excuses involving everything from crocodiles to itchy PJs. Even If you are successful at getting them tucked into bed, they seem to find a way to get up five minutes later.

RELATED: 7 facts about a sleeping baby

avoid bedtime battles

Be firm and set strict bedtimes to avoid bedtime battles.

Avoid bedtime battles forever by following these strategies:

1.)    Stick to a regular bedtime routine – Plan and stick to a routine that you can follow every night. Then make sure that your child knows what to expect. Following the same routine every evening helps your child to know what is coming. Young children benefit a great deal from predictable routines. Mummy Emma who we spoke to said that her routine begins after dinner with a bath, then story time and then lights out with mummy or daddy staying with their son for about 5 mins till he’s totally settled. Then they say “Thank you for a beautiful day together. I love you. Sleep well. Good night. We’ve been doing this since he was about 9 months old and started sleeping through the night.”

2.)    Be gentle but firm when you meet with resistance – If your child gets out of bed, listen to their reason, acknowledge their reason but then escort him/her back and tell your child that getting out of bed is not allowed. If your child always gets out of bed on the pretext that he/she is thirsty, then place a cup or bottle of water on the bedside table. Make sure that your child goes to the toilet before bed so that will be one less excuse to get out of bed. Anticipating possible objections will help your cause.

Need more tips to avoid bedtime battles? Turn to the next page!

RELATED: Getting your baby to sleep in longer

3.)   Set last-minute reminders – Before going to bed, make it a habit to give last minute prompts to avoid bedtime battles. Ask if there’s anything he/she wants in the kitchen before it closes or if a quick bathroom visit is needed. If your child declines any of your prompts and still gets up from bed, escort your child back to bed. Some parents may choose to implement a consequence for getting out of bed such as removing a privilege such as no screen time the following day if he/she gets up again.

avoid bedtime battles

Offering rewards for good behaviour will help encourage your child not to put up a fight.

4.)   Offer rewards for consistent good behavior – To avoid bedtime battles, sometimes offering rewards is effective. If your child has stayed in bed all night for the first time, offer a small reward or just acknowledge the accomplishment verbally. “You stayed in bed all night sweetheart! That’s wonderful!” If you prefer to let your child know when a reward is to be expected, set up a chart to monitor progress. Rewards don’t have to be a big deal. A simple sticker or a smiley face stamped at the back of the hand will suffice.

RELATED: How an irregular bedtime affects children

To avoid bedtime battles, parents need to be firm and consistent. But how did you manage it? Tell us about your experience. For additional information on how to successfully get your child to bed, watch this video: