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Parenting

How to get your kids to go to bed — and stay there!

Alyson Schafer offers her best tips for getting your kids to go to bed, and techniques for helping them stay there.

By Today's Parent staff
How to get your kids to go to bed — and stay there!

How to get your kids to go to bed — and stay there!

Go to bed!

She’s thirsty. She’s lonely. She has to pee...again! Is it the same scene at your house after lights out?

Parenting expert and author Alyson Schafer reminds parents that bedtime stalling is simply about engaging mom and dad. “You can’t make them go to bed, but you can make sure they don’t reach their goal, and they’ll then abandon the behaviour.

This is not you being cruel; this is setting a boundary. "No socializing after 8 p.m.,” says Schafer, who suggests you attempt not to control the child, but to control the situation.

Here are some more tips for getting them to go to bed — and stay there!

A version of this article appeared in our February 2013 issue with the headline "Stop bedtime stalling," p. 55.

How to get your kids to go to bed — and stay there!Photo: matka_Wariatka/iStockphoto

Supply the basics

Leave a cup of water in the bedroom. If your child is potty training, leave the potty there, too. Older kids can go to the bathroom themselves — they don't need an escort.

How to get your kids to go to bed — and stay there!Photo: Emre Eldemir/iStockphoto

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Use actions, not words

If your child creeps downstairs, calmly take your wanderer's hand and return him to his room without words. Repeat as many times as necessary. Schafer admits this is a great technique, but hard to pull off if your tot is stubborn.

How to get your kids to go to bed — and stay there!Photo: blackred/iStockphoto

Offer choices

If your little one can't stay in his room, let him know that you can help. Walk him back once, and tell him that if he comes out again, you will help him stay in his room by either closing the door, putting up a baby gate, or even installing a childproof handle on his side.

How to get your kids to go to bed — and stay there!Photo: Gina Neal/iStockphoto

Revisit the routine

Does she need music to fall asleep to? A later or earlier bedtime? More books and cuddle time? Have a family discussion to create a pleasant, consistent routine that makes everyone happy.

How to get your kids to go to bed — and stay there!Photo: Leigh Schindler/iStockphoto

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More bedtime tips!

How to get your kids to go to bed — and stay there!Photo: Chris Bernard/iStockphoto
This article was originally published on Feb 01, 2013

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