As the Founder and Owner of Advanced Nurturing, full-time parent coach and pediatric sleep specialist, I often find this simple yet effective solution is easily overlooked and frequently forgotten!
Along with my professional experience, I'm also a mom to three great kids! I've been where you are many times and had the same bedtime struggles you're having! Today, I get asked the same question over and over from clients and friends; "How do I manage bedtime? "Many families begin to feel anxious as bedtime approaches and anticipate a challenge from their toddler. The biggest issue is managing your expectations and creating a calm peaceful home. Believe it will go well every time and project those emotions onto your child, while maintaining a confident and consistent approach. Keeping parents on track is truly the biggest issue! When you’re tired, worn out, had enough of negotiating and just want to give up, you often send mixed messages and become inconsistent. Little ones need you to set these boundaries and make them clear. Another little piece of advice, communicate what you want them to do and minimize the use of the word "no!" See how this simple trick changes your approach and how empowered you feel as a parent.
Being consistent makes the world of difference in parenting. A child raised in a scheduled and structured home always knows what to expect and won’t fight you on going to bed. Practice these methods for parenting throughout the day and anticipate problems before they occur, know how you will handle the demands and what you will agree to and won't agree to, before you get in a situation that leaves you second guessing your own choices. Teaching your children from an early age that mommy means what she says, isn't being tough, it's being fair. When children learn that tormenting and pressuring mom gets them the what they want, they learn that you are inconsistent and unpredictable. It isn't fair when you do set the limits because you are sending mixed messages.
Young children thrive on routine and learn to anticipate what comes next. Creating an solid relationship and an environment with boundaries helps them to feel safe. Paying close attention to every detail and following the same routine in the very same order every night is the key to a successful bedtime! Setting the routine from day one helps babies and toddlers learn to associate the routine with sleep. A sleep routine takes some planning and everyone must be willing to do the same routine. If you want to read three books and daddy only wants to read one, this will create issues down the road so stick to the routine! Little ones don't like surprises that aren't in their favor, especially at bedtime!