Before becoming a parent, you may have envisioned bedtime
as the sweetest time of the day as you tucked in your little
cherubs, kissed them on their foreheads, and watched them
peacefully drift off to sleep. Then you had kids! What
happened? The reality is that bedtime is usually when tiredness
and selfishness peak (sometimes for parents as well as
children). Some children produce quite a struggle at bedtime,
making the last few minutes of the day a battle instead
of a blessing. We have some suggestions to help you adjust
the way you handle bedtimes in order to bring about a more
positive result. Here are some ideas that may help you.
1) Children have bedtimes because it’s part of developing
self-discipline. Don’t listen to the excuse, “I’m not tired.”
We don’t go to bed at a bedtime because we’re tired. We
go to bed at a regular time because it builds self-discipline
and it’s a healthy way to live.
2) Plan bedtimes strategically. For young children take
care of pajamas and bathroom needs a half-hour before bedtime
so that kids are motivated to return for the final chapter
of the book, or for one more round of the game. This will
keep kids moving. When it’s time for bed, spend time praying,
blessing, or singing to your child. When it’s time to leave
the room, do it, but keep a close eye on your child to
make sure he or she stays in bed. For help being firm at
bedtime you might like to read the book Home
Improvement, the Parenting Book You Can Read to Your Kids. That book
applies the concept of a tight action point to bedtime
in the first chapter. Teaching children to go to bed requires
calm consistency on the part of the parent. Children learn
overtime and bedtimes become peaceful.
3) Developing good habits at bedtime is important and
takes consistent routines for a significant length of time.
It’s not wrong to lie down with a child for a period of
time before sleep in order to nurture relationship and
make that time special, but if you find yourself developing
a routine that has you sleeping with your child to get
your child to sleep you may want to rethink what you’re
doing. Nurturing your child is helpful, but giving in to
demandingess is not. One of the things you’re teaching
your child is independence at bedtime, the ability to go
to sleep on your own.
Please don’t think that we believe that kids sleeping
with parents or parents sleeping with kids is wrong. Some
parents enjoy building relationship with their children
like that. It’s an individual decision. You’ll know when
that’s not best for your family or for your child. When
it’s time to make a change you can use some of these ideas
to help you do it.
Bedtime is a special time. You’ll want to develop good
habits in order to make the time one of cooperation, instead
of resistance. Blessing children at bedtime is helpful
for them as they end their days and drift off to sleep.
Dialogue with them when it’s appropriate in order to work
through challenges of the day and look forward to the next
day. Reemphasize relationships with each other and with
God as the day ends. Bedtimes done well can add to emotional
connectedness in your family.