All parents know they must pick their battles with toddlers. It’s far too exhausting and counterproductive—not to mention fairly impossible—to compel very young children to abide by every single rule or meet every single behavioral expectation all the time. Although consistency is important in child rearing, so is compromise.
However, one of the areas where it pays to be strict right from the start is bedtime. Establishing a nightly routine that gets your child into bed at a reasonable hour and keeps him there until morning will help ensure that you both enjoy a healthful amount of rest every day.
While getting a full night of uninterrupted sleep with a toddler in the house might sound like a mere pipe dream, you can improve your chances of making this happen by implementing the following strategies for dealing bedroom boycotts:
- Be aware that bad daytime habits, such as poorly timed naps or over-consumption of caffeine from chocolate, colas, and similar food sources, might be contributing to nighttime sleeping issues
- Give your child a winding down period at least one hour prior to bedtime to help put him in as relaxed and calm a state as possible
- Keep a small sippy cup of water within the toddler’s reach to eliminate the “I’m thirsty” ploy for getting out of bed
- If necessary, install a night light (or several) around the room to help ease the child’s fear of the dark
- Figure out ahead of time how you want to deal with excessive crying, tantrums, or getting out of bed for no reason, and then adhere to the plan even in the heat of the moment
- Consider using a sticker chart or other incentives to reward your child for staying in bed all night
Of course, not all children will respond to these techniques in the same way, so we recommend a trial-and-error approach to dealing with toddler bedroom boycotts. Then once your child realizes you are immune to his antics, he should settle into an acceptable nighttime routine.