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You are here: Home > Toddlers > Parenting

Pleasant Bedtimes

by Kim Tilley |
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If you have always had a strict bedtime routine and your child suddenly departs from this, don't worry too much, he or she is just trying to assert their independence in the only ways they know how.

From the age of three onward, your child may well use delaying tactics to put off going to bed. The way you handle this situation really depends on how much energy you have at the end of the day, and what your previous bedtime routine has been.

If you have been looking after your child and managing household tasks all day, you'll be in need of private time and you may feel that you can insist on him or her going to bed. If you have been out at work all day, however, you might want to see and spend some time with your child, so you may feel very sympathetic to their pleas for staying up later.

If you have always had a strict bedtime routine and your child suddenly departs from this, don't worry too much, he or she is just trying to assert their independence in the only ways they know how. This defiantly does not mean that you are to go along with it though, it's probably best for both of you to firmly but with loving fairness that it is time for bed. If on the only hand, you have been flexible about bedtimes, it's probably as well for your child's happiness and your serenity to let your child stay up with you and make him or her comfortable. Your child will be asleep in a few minutes with the reassurance of your presence in the room.

KEEPING BEDTIME PEACEFUL

I am convinced that bedtimes should be happy times, and with my own children I was always prepared to make concessions to this principle. I would do anything to avoid having my children go to bed unhappy or in tears. What is worse then having your child here, " get to bed or you are going to get a spanking" as the last words of the day. Instead get then tucked into bed and then bring out the story book, what little one can resist the tale of Peter Rabbit or one of my sons favorites Bobby The Bunny. The point is, this is a way for you and your child to relax and spend time together while they are going to sleep. So let the last words of the day be gentle and kind while they drift into dreamland.

FEAR OF THE DARK

As your child gets older and their imagination becomes more active, it's very easy to imagine frightening things in the shadows. A fear of the dark is entirely normal--even adults retain it. Leave a night light on in the room or leave a light on outside with a dimmer switch so your child can see their way to the bathroom if they need it or to your room if they get frightened. (If you use a night-light make sure it does not cast frightening shadows.) Never insist their bedroom being completely dark and never ridicule their fear; it's really a sign that your child is growing up and learning about the world around them. Be sure and tell them that if they wake up in the middle of the night and are frightened, they can always come and get you to chase away the scary.


Should I let my baby sleep with me?

Kim Draper is a contributing writer for Baby Corner. She is the mother of two teenage boys. She lives in Texas with her sons and husband.

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