Updated: Jun 6, 2018
Parents, we've all been there!
You've just put the kids to bed, and with your cup of tea, or something stronger, you've nestled yourself on the couch in front of the TV, breathing a sigh of relief that your day has come to an end.
As you're reaching for the remote control to switch Cartoon Network to your well-deserved PG13 rated movie, footsteps come creeping...
As every parent knows, bedtime can be one of the most deflating parts of your day. You and your child are both operating on low battery mode by the end of the day. And because you have more experience, you would know that a bad night's sleep causes chaos the next morning. So, what now?
The footsteps have reached the door.
Firstly, take a moment to breathe and compose yourself. Try to remember that your child's action is a behaviour - your child is trying to get a need met and sees bedtime as the opportune moment.
However, you don't have the patience or will to be attentive. Luckily there are a few shortcuts you can try, but be aware short-term solutions won't solve the cause of your child's long-term need, but it can help the process of getting there sooner.
Pay attention during bath-time
Make it all about your child. Joke, laugh, play, talk, but most importantly listen. Let them take control of the conversation. Remember, that your child is finally not sharing you with the rest of the world and having your undivided attention is the highlight of the day.
If your children are too old for bathtime, then get creative and change the environment to dinnertime or even on your way home in the car. There's no right answer, as long as it is quality time spent in a safe environment.
Don't rush. Embrace every moment in the process
Time is precious, and you should not take the bedtime process for granted. A moment well spent with your child can open a lot of doors. So, spend extra time with them at night and actively listen to what they have to say. It could become a golden opportunity when they finally tell you what is really going on in their lives.
If your child doesn't want to talk, still take the time to read a bedtime story or finish watching a cartoon together.
Get rid of surprises and stick to a routine
Children don't like surprises, and a routine eliminates some risk of catching your child off-guard and throwing them out of balance. Routine also helps a child feel safe on a subconscious level, and this includes teenagers, although their routines become different as they age.
Prevent conflict by preparing your child at least two hours before actual bedtime. Keep them informed about what's coming and the actions required of them. Don't force them, instead influence them into a routine by setting the example yourself.
Don't feel overcome by bedtime battles. What works for one parent might not work for another. The best advice is not to compare yourself with another but instead use trial-and-error to find something that works for your family.
If at first you don't succeed, try, try, again.
"Parents would be more effective, and life at home more pleasant for everyone, if they would begin thinking about children’s behavior in a different way. First, try to remember that all of the children’s actions are behaviors. Each thing they do or say is a specific behavior. Viewed in this way, all day long a child is behaving. And for the very same reason all other creatures engage in behaviors—they are trying to get their needs met." - Dr Thomas Gordon
Learn more: www.parents.co.za
Disclaimer: The information contained in this communication is not to be construed as medical advice. Consult a professional on any medical or psychological concerns. The articles and blogs are posted only as opinion or ideas, and are general in nature. The administrator takes no responsibility for any action or outcome a reader may make as a result of reading a post.