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Bedtime Routine

Tried and True: Techniques for Avoiding Bedtime Battles

An inspired mom of five

I’ve learned that even the best-set bedtime plans don’t always go smoothly. Between begging to stay up “just five minutes longer” and endless requests for one more story or glass of water, my five kids have an uncanny way of putting off lights-out.

But you don’t have to be a slave to stall tactics. These tried-and-true techniques will help your kids settle down without a fight:

  • Give them an inviting place to settle down. A comfortable, neatly made bed and a bedside lamp for soft reading light with a selection of books nearby helps make bedtime more appealing. Put your children in charge of making their own beds right after they get up so you don’t have to add another task to your daily to-dos. If your child still occasionally wets the bed, make sure GoodNites® Bedtime Pants or GoodNites* TRU-FIT* Underwear are in a discreet but easily accessible place so he can get them himself.
  • Leave plenty of time. If you know you will be cranky if everybody’s not quietly in bed by 8:30 p.m., don’t start the bedtime process at 8:25 p.m.! Set a timer to go off an hour before bedtime and start slowly preparing the kids; turn lights down, turn the TV off, play relaxing music, lay out pajamas — anything you can do to set the mood and signal to your kids that bedtime is coming. Do your pre-bedtime tasks in the same order every night and, if you meet resistance, just blame the clock: “It’s 8:05 p.m. — that’s always tooth-brushing time, remember?”
  • Create a fun ritual. My youngest boys know that tuck-in time at our house always includes two rituals: talking about what we did that day — where each child (and Mom!) gives a recap of his or her day; and the Giant Clara story — a funny story about their baby sister accidentally growing huge that I told on a whim one night. It became such a hit that since then we’ve added to it every night, and sometimes the boys start asking for Giant Clara even before bedtime.
  • Give kids a grace period. Build in five minutes after pajamas and tooth-brushing but before tucking-in and lights-out where kids can grab another sip of water or run to the bathroom one more time.

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