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Bedtime photoBefore 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.

Need some help finding the right solution for your family?
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