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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Getting my boy to sleep at night

Bedtime battles are the norm for every parent at some point in time. I can tell you I thought I had a pretty mild-tempered 5 year old until just recently. Maybe it's his pending fifth birthday that is spawning the sudden urges to fight me when it comes time to take a nap or actually go to bed. Luckily I have discovered a few tricks to make bedtime battles go much more smoothly.

Establish a Routine - You've probably heard this a million times but, seriously, its effective. I can't say that my routine for my son is down to a science or is done at the exact same time every night but it sure gets him prepared for the actual going to bed. It usually goes something like this; Dinner is had, a shower or bath is taken, a calm game or activity is played, he gets his teeth brushed and then the getting into bed occurs. In bed, there will be a short story time follow by a bible story and to close with a prayer. Since he is a bit finicky about the placement of his stuffed D-Og, he would place all his Ogee familes around him for story, bible and prayer time. In all about 15 minutes before the actual tucking in and good night light tap head-butt. You can certainly replace the head-butt routine with a kiss. In our household, if it's mommy turn then it will be a good night kiss.  Not too shabby, and I usually don't have much trouble with him getting to sleep after all that.

Compromise - In reality, this is really just a very sugar-coated word for "bribery", but hey, I'm not judging! My child is a little older and has the ability to protest to  bedtime verbally, I would offer him a consolation prize for going to bed such as what fun things we are going to do tomorrow after school. Sometimes my son just doesn't want to go to sleep so I bribe him with the some next day promises. He loves going for car rides and going to the store and most of the time it does work. Sometimes, kids will go to bed if they know their favorite breakfast will be made in the morning or that tomorrow after school, you'll take them to the park. Both have worked well with my son.

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