Establishing a bedtime routine takes time and patience, as pointed out in our previous post. Getting your child into bed is only half the battle. It’s the nightly struggle to keep your little jack-in-the-box in bed that parents find most frustrating. If you’re having trouble getting your child to stay in bed after you say goodnight, try these tips:
- Be consistent and stay calm. Follow the same bedtime routine every night so your child learns to associate it with going to sleep. If your child calls for you or gets out of bed after lights out, be consistent in your response. Consistency is reassuring to children who find comfort and safety in predictability.
- Say good night and leave the room while your child is still awake so he learns to handle the separation.
- If your child calls for you, reassure him that you are downstairs and will see him in the morning.
- If your child gets out of bed, take his hand and lead him back to bed. Say good night and remind him that he needs to stay in bed and go to sleep. Reassure him that you are there and will see him in the morning.
- Don’t pick your child up and cuddle or rock him or lie down with him in his bed. Learning to separate himself from his parents is an important and necessary step in establishing individual identity and developing self-confidence and self-esteem.
Next time: More tips