Follow routine leading up to bedtime. This should start from dinner time and look something like:
5:30-6:15 Quiet play
6:30-6:45 Teeth toilet and last call for anything they need.
6:45-7:00 Into bed for books, cuddles and kisses.
7:00 – Lights out and begin this process!
Give the children their last kisses and cuddles and explain to them “its bedtime now, show me how you can close your eyes and go to sleep”.
Sit quietly in the room, calmly, without speaking to, or making eye contact with them. Be careful to keep your attention somewhere else. (Reading is very useful).
Ignore all of their attempts to get your attention. (These will usually escalate and test you the first few times you do this. Remember that you have set a boundary, and you are proving to your children that this boundary is solid).
Examples of common bedtime deferrals:
- I’m thirsty, hungry, need to wee etc. Make sure these things are covered in the lead up to bedtime routine.
- Annoying little things like tapping the wall, flailing limbs and banging.
- Talking to each other and trying to get you to answer them.
Just stay calm, still and quiet. Give them NOTHING and this won’t last long.
If children get out of bed:
The first time, get down to their level and again explain: “It’s bedtime now, show me how you can close your eyes and go to sleep” and put them back in bed.
The second time, say: “It’s bedtime now” and put them back to bed.
The third and all following times, put them back to bed with the least amount of attention possible. Calmly without speaking to, or making eye contact with them. Remember, this could be a fun game, but we want to make it as boring as possible. Sleep has to be the preferred option.
If your little one is in a cot, you can still use this guide. Just lie them down in their cot in steps three and four.