How To Win The Bedtime Battle (Kids and Teens)
Fights over sleep, as every parent knows, could be one of the most powerful power battles you’ll have with your child, whether they’re five or fifteen. Many children just do not want to go to bed at night. I believe most of them are terrified of missing out on something important. Others could be terrified of the dark or sleeping. And some children simply want to be in charge. Bedtime just becomes another battleground in which your children will try to outwit you. If you eliminate fears of the dark, bedwetting, and not waking up, you’re left with oppositional behavioural issues—the power struggle.
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Instead of learning to control you via power plays, the focus should be on your child learning to manage himself by completing his obligations.
First and first, as in any power battle, we prefer to avoid fighting if at all possible. That implies that if we adopt a new policy, we may face opposition at first—and it could be a significant or violent one. My suggestion is to avoid personalizing it and instead recognize that this is a question of your child fulfilling their obligations.
Winning The Bedtime Battle For Younger Kids
Recognize that younger children’s problem-solving abilities are less developed; they frequently struggle with impulsivity and frustration control. If going to bed is a source of frustration for them, it’s probable that their behaviour will spiral out of control. So the first guideline is to make nighttime as pleasant as possible. Make no mistake: I’m not suggesting that you make things nice for them by chatting sweetly to them or rewarding them. I’m saying don’t make things unpleasant for yourself by seeking for a fight. Don’t let it become a self-fulfilling prophesy by expecting them to fight with you just because they’ve done it before.
Add-In Quiet Time
I believe that there should be some quiet time when the home settles down before night. Your childrens TV or DVD viewing should be checked for mellowness and simplicity. A half-hour before bedtime, no video games or computer. Bedtime should ideally be a time when the house is quiet—dad shouldn’t be constructing a chair in the gaanger, mom shouldn’t be slamming doors, and other siblings shouldn’t be shouting and yelling or laughing too loudly.
Use A Toddler Sleep Clock
When your child starts pre-school or kindergarten, you should get them an alarm clock. When kids start school, teach them how to set themselves at night. We set the alarm clock at night before we go to bed as part of the morning ritual. As a result, as soon as your child has somewhere to go, they will take responsibility. This is basic behavioural training, and it works well for getting children into the morning routine. Here are the best toddler sleep clocks that can help.
Try A Behaviour Chart
I propose that parents establish a star system (behaviour chart) for younger children who have behavioural difficulties. Get some magnetic stars and dots, a whiteboard, and a non-erasable pen to make this yourself. Make a row for each day of the week across the top of the chart. You draw lines across the bottom. “Goes ready for bedtime without a fight,” you write on the top line, “Does bedtime hygiene well,” and “Goes to his room and gets into bed without a fight.” In some situations, you might wish to include the phrase “shuts off light in half-an-hour.”
So, if your child goes to the restroom and maintains good cleanliness, he receives a star. But let’s assume he doesn’t go to his room in a timely manner. He then receives a dot. You may measure incentives in two ways using this method. It’s a highly effective way to induce the execution of simple, useful activities.
Your kid will be awarded in one of two ways: if they get a specific proportion of stars each day, they will be rewarded that night, and if it is a weekly prize, they will be rewarded that weekend. Something special with an adult has to be the weekend reward. They may, for example, go have an ice cream cone with Dad or see a movie with both parents. A family game or the opportunity to stay up half an hour later might be the daily prize, as long as the proper amount of sleep still happens.
Because your child nearly always has a chance to succeed and can almost always start anew, we do it progressively. So don’t expect him to say something like, “I’ve already destroyed my day; why should I try?” Kids never lose on a start chart. They don’t lose a star if they don’t meet a goal; they simply don’t get one.
Use Soft Lights
Before turning out the lights, leave a gentle light on in the room for half an hour. Reading is an excellent method to go asleep for younger children under the age of eleven. It relaxes them and clears their minds. It also offers them some control over their lives. This concept includes questions like “Would you want to read?” and “What would you like to read?” If you offer your kids that option.
Winning The Bedtime Battle With Older Kids
The situation is a bit different for teenagers at bedtime—that is, children aged 12 and up. The trouble with teenagers is that getting to their bedroom is rarely a problem. Many people will already be texting and chatting on their phones in their bedrooms. As many parents are aware, the issue is what their children do in their rooms after they have gone to bed.
If your teen stays up late but can still make it to school on time and the grades are not suffering, you might not need to worry much about enforcing bedtime rules at all. If they are so tired that they don’t do well on a test, that’s their natural consequence right there. Remember that a nagging parent is the worst thing that a teen can encounter and will avoid as much as possible. To keep our teens close, we gotta pick those battles.
But, if your teen is struggling with waking up on time or you have other issues with the late bedtimes, then here are some things you can do.
Check On Child Before Lights Out
I also urge that parents check on their children at least once when the light is turned on before going to bed. Of course, knocking on their door and asking, “May I come in?” is essential. Open the door if your child replies yes. If they refuse, tell them, “OK, I’ll be back in 5 minutes.” Checking in on your children, even teenagers, shows them that you are interested about what they are doing and that you are concerned about their health and safety.
Free Time / Calm Time Before Bed
The success of the new bedtime routine will be determined by your teen’s disposition as well as your belief that teaching your child how to get up is an essential duty. Some parents are OK with their children being woken up five times; others perceive it as a genuine attempt on their childrens part to avoid getting up on time and accepting responsibility. In any case, older children are free to keep their lights on for an hour before sleep so that they can read. Again, this will assist them in winding down, calming down, and preparing for sleep. Some parents permit low-volume music, while others do not.
Adolescents face the same punishments (operant conditioning)as younger children: they lose an hour of reading time if they have trouble getting out of bed in the morning. You may also use the same approach as with smaller children: “Do it for a few days, and then we’ll speak about it.” Older children could become angry and act out as a result of this. However, persistence and effort on the side of the parent will pay off once again.
Those are the building blocks for any talk about your child taking on additional responsibility or doing new activities. It’s a strong equation for anybody measuring something, but it’s especially useful for a kid or teenager since it keeps them focused on the rules and provides you a structure to fall back on if they don’t fulfil their obligations. If your child fails to maintain his or her part of the bargain and tries to cause a quarrel, you can always remind them of the four questions and the agreement you made before the new rule was implemented.
What You Should Do Next:
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- Easily get kids to listen – the FIRST time. No yelling or reminding…not even once!
- Put an end to daily power struggles. Bedtime became a breeze, and all the dawdling, chore wars, sibling rivalry, and mealtime meltdowns disappeared.
- Reduce backtalk by HALF! It’s simple once you know the secrets of these two ‘buckets.’
- Say goodbye to punishments that DON’T work. There’s a 5-step formula that works WAYYY better than time-outs.
- Feel amazing, confident, and empowered as a parent, every day. I NEVER go to bed feeling guilty anymore! (Okay, well maybe sometimes…’ mom guilt’ is still a thing.)