Updated: Aug 29
You would think school-aged children are too old for bedtime meltdowns. It is easy for bedtimes to get pushed back over the summer... playing outside more in the evenings, sun stays up longer, yada yada. Lately, Veronica has been going upstairs to get ready for bed, and all of a sudden can't move another inch. "I'm toooo tirreeedddd to put my jammmmies onnnn. Mommmmm, can you do it foorrrrrrr meee".
If this sounds like your house, and you need help getting things back on track AND getting your kiddo on board, keep reading.
Step 1 - Talk to your kiddo
"It seems like you have been super tired at bedtime lately (insert the clues that lead you to believe this, ex: you have been telling me you are too tired to put your PJs on by yourself)."
Step 2 - Bust Out the White Board
"I have a fun idea! Let's make a board so we can find out your perfect bedtime. I will write down the time you begin getting ready for bed (or even better, let your kiddo write it down!). If you feel too tired to get your bedtime stuff done by yourself (put on PJs, pick out clothes for the next day, etc), then you can tell me and I will help you! Then you can put an X in the 'too tired' column on your board."
Note: Check out my white board example in the picture below.
Also Note: White boards are fun and can basically fix anything. Doodling and favorite colors are a must.
One More Note: If your kiddo tells you she is too tired and asks for help, do so with a positive attitude! This is an experiment. We know they will have many days where they are too tired because, we already know that this is the cause of the meltdowns. But we want your kiddo to put together that feeling too tired means they have a hard time getting ready for bed. And that it is a good thing to get ready for bed when they are not feeling too tired. And learning what that feeling is and being able to put it into words is HUGE!
Step 3 - Next Steps
"If you are too tired, we will just begin bedtime routine 5 min earlier tomorrow to see if that is your perfect bedtime."
Best to begin with her current bedtime and work backwards from there.
Step 4 - Perfect Time to Begin Bedtime Routine
"If you are not too tired, you can draw a smiley face in the 'not too tired' column."
Once your kiddo finds a time that seems to work, continue keeping tracking for a few days to make sure this is indeed her perfect bedtime.
And there it is!
Why does it work?
Because no kid likes to be told what to do, and this allows YOUR CHILD to decide (and prove!) what her perfect bedtime is.
Plus coloring with markers on a white board fixes all.
Be sure to do this on days when your kiddo has typical naps. For example, if she never naps at school/daycare/camp, but naps on the weekend, keep track during the week since she may not be tired at her typical time on the weekends.
For A Good Laugh
Veronica explained how she determined the best time for her to begin her bedtime routine...
Katie Ramirez, RN, BSN, CLC
Born Happy, Owner and Coach
Katie Ramirez is a Registered Nurse, Certified Lactation Counselor, and Coach for parents of babies and toddlers. She has spent more than a decade serving patients at major university hospitals such as Vanderbilt University and Penn State University Medical Centers. Katie now spends her time supporting and empowering parents of babies and toddlers as owner and coach for Born Happy.
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