“Back to bed!” “No, it’s not time to play with your toys” “I’m warning you, get to bed or ….!” Said any of those phrases lately? If you have, don’t beat yourself up. Young children know they have more freedom and they like to test the waters to see how much freedom they can get. Toddlers and young children test the world around them, seeking knowledge and learning how to behave in different situations. It’s part of normal childhood development but we, as parents, have to be the ones to set the expectations and boundaries, in particular, around sleep and bedtime.
And while it’s easy to give in to your child’s multiple demands for another drink of water, another kiss, another hug, another stuffed animal, another trip to the bathroom or to lay down with them at bedtime, et cetera, the next thing you know it’s 2 hours later and your child still hasn’t fallen asleep. The bedtime shenanigans have you mentally drained and willing to give your child whatever they want…if they would just go to sleep!
Parents are often faced with this dilemma, but they’re not sure how to get bedtime to a more reasonable time or back to what it used to be.
How do you do that? Simply put, you have to set boundaries around sleep.
Remember the last time you told your child that they couldn’t play in the street or some other unsafe place? Yes, well…you just set a boundary. Even the most relaxed parent sets boundaries, because none of us would let our 2 year old run around with sharp scissors, right?
Here are 3 tips to help you set those boundaries.
First, you and your partner/spouse should discuss and agree on what those boundaries are going to be. You’re a team and you have to be on the same page, so spend some time deciding together what you want your evening to look like. For instance, if you don’t want your child sleeping in bed with you, they shouldn’t be allowed to sleep in bed with you. Pretty simple, right?
Second, once you’ve determined your boundaries, such as allowing only 1 drink of water and another stuffed animal, you have to stick with it! Allow only as many as you are willing to give in to and hold firm with that number. I, for one, allow only 1 request with my own daughter. Once children learn that additional requests won’t be met, most likely they’ll stop asking.
Finally, you have to communicate what your boundaries are to your child. Tell them what you expect them to do at bedtime and stick with it. Whichever way, verbally or visually, that you think your child will respond better, is the best strategy to use.
Set your boundaries and stick to them. As easy as it is to give in, you know that it will just continue and stall bedtime, so hold firm and give your child loving limits to ensure a relaxing bedtime for everyone.
Need help setting boundaries around sleep with your toddler or child? Then I have the solution for you. Next month, I’ll be launching my online group coaching program, designed just for parents that want to get their toddlers and children falling asleep faster at bedtime, who want to end the battles at bedtime that drag on forever and get their children sleeping through the night, in their own beds.
Taught in a group setting, this program is designed for parents of toddlers/children, ages 18 months to 5 years. You’ll get a custom sleep plan for your child that will show you exactly how to get your toddler/child sleeping all night, 4 weeks of support to ensure you meet your goals, daily check-ins with me, weekly group coaching calls to answer your questions, weekly lessons about your child’s sleep with printable resources and support from other families just like you!
Interested? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know that you want in and you’ll be one of the first people to know as soon as registration opens. There will be limited spots available.
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Interested in learning more about me or how I can help your child sleep all night? Contact me today and learn how I help families get the sleep they need. I work with clients all over the world as well as the Washington DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia areas, in person. Just click on the button below to send me a contact request. You will be contacted promptly so we can get your family sleeping as soon as possible.