Do your kids create quite a struggle at bedtime? After they’re tucked in and the light is out, do they NEED a million things? Drinks, hugs, bathroom, etc? Monsters under the bed? It’s exhausting. It’s defeating. You know they are perfectly fine, but the “Moooooooommy” calls just keep coming. How do you make it end already?!?
I’m not saying we’re perfect over here…far from it, actually. Some nights are rougher than others. But I have learned to end the struggle as soon as possible. Anticipate, anticipate, anticipate. What you have to do first is ask yourself what they’re getting from all of these excuses. Are they trying to keep themselves awake longer? Are they trying to get more time or attention from you? Once you figure out what they’re getting, you can form a plan of action. Your game plan has to totally eliminate what they’re trying to get.
If they continually ask to get a drink and you think it’s to be out of bed to stay awake longer, have a drink there ready for them. Make it something that they can get themselves WITHOUT getting out of bed. Keep a water bottle by their bed. Is that causing nighttime accidents? Fill it mostly with ice and a tiny bit of water. They’ll have their first drink, then tell them they will just have to wait just a little bit for the ice to melt to make more water. I guarantee you they’ll fall asleep waiting! And if not, well they’ll get another little drink and wait for the next one. Soon enough, they’ll be asleep. What you absolutely can NOT do is continue to go in there to encourage them to wait for it to melt because you’re defeating the whole point of eliminating yourself from the equation. Be strong! Don’t go in there. You will thank yourself later.
Are bathroom breaks the excuse? Call their bluff. I dare you! I mean, don’t completely set yourself up for a load of laundry. Have them go to the bathroom before bedtime and make sure they actually GO. Then you can be pretty darn sure it’s a ploy to get out of bed if they’re asking to go 30 minutes later. I can almost bet money that they won’t actually have an accident. Or, if you believe they are trying to get more time with you, eliminate that benefit from the trips to the bathroom altogether. Make sure they are able to go independently and tell them they’re welcome to get up and go by themselves, but they’ll have to get themselves tucked back in when they’re done.
Are monsters the problem? This might be legit. They might actually be scared and not just trying to get your time. BUT, depending on how you approach this, you could totally shoot yourself in the foot. You can get a million great ideas from Pinterest for getting rid of the monsters. Pick one! But I will caution you that whatever route you choose to take, you need to make sure the kid is the one getting rid of the monsters. If it’s monster spray, make them the ones that spray them away, not you. If YOU are the one getting rid of the monsters, then YOU will be the one called to do it every. single. time. That’s what we’re trying to avoid!
Once you figure out what they’re trying to get, you can play the game and come up with a plan. Come up with solutions that take that outcome out of the equation completely. Pretty soon, they’ll quit making those excuses because it doesn’t get them what they want! Later this week, I’ll be talking about some other things that might help if this approach doesn’t cut it or you just can’t stay away. But I do encourage you to try this one first!