When you are trying to help your children fall asleep quickly, I always recommend that you limit the amount of engagement on your part after lights are out. At bedtime, kids might ask you for extra cuddles, kisses, water, food, potty…..sound familiar?
If we engage children after lights are out, regardless of whether it’s positive or negative engagement, then we are only fostering the behavior without intending to. We are all guilty of that from time to time, but sometimes we do it too often, and that’s when things spiral out of control.
After lights are out, I recommend that all engagement be limited. Speaking to children too much, turning on lights and answering their every whim will actually help them stay up longer in the long run. It’s not cruel to not answer their calls after you have tended to them all day, except when they are in pain or are ill, of course! You can explain to them during sleep routine that, after lights are out, it’s time to go to sleep and tomorrow mommy and daddy will play with them again.
By setting rules and sticking to them, you are showing your children that they can trust you because you mean what you say. You become predictable and they love that. Remember, children thrive on structure! We can be the best parents by providing that to them.
What did your child do to engage you that you found difficult to walk away from?