Systems: Getting those kids to bed


Getting my children to go to bed and stay there is one of the longest running battles we deal with in this household.

I gave birth to one snuggler and one worrier.

The snuggler INSISTS that he cannot go to sleep alone. He will worm his way into our bed, into his sister’s bed (she’s starting to put the kibosh on this lately) and for years I ended up staying in his room and snuggling until he fell asleep. It’s one of those habits every parenting expert says not to fall into. But I’m a sucker for sweet little boys who want to curl up next to you and I am always so incredibly drained by the end of the night. Avoiding a fight by giving into his demands was just the easiest thing to do.

On the other end, I’ve got a worrier who has had some difficulties at times relaxing and releasing into sleep. Because I couldn’t be in both places at once, I purchased (upon someone’s recommendation) a relaxation CD for my daughter to use. Praise God, that thing has been so helpful. However, it works so well that if I head into her room for a quick snuggle, I wake up at 11:00 with drool on my shoulder and a stuffed animal under my arm, wondering where I am.

So the past couple of months, we’ve been trying to just re-establish a new system for going to bed. And the one we’re using right now is working (fingers crossed). Hope I’m not jinxing everything.

Here’s how it goes:

  • A behavior sticker chart (I hate sticker charts, though I do like lists) was modified to include a “stay in bed” item. Stickers = IPad time
  • We turn out lights, but I let them listen to an audiobook or a Sparkle Story
  • I head upstairs as fast as I can (my kids bedrooms are on the first floor and our master is upstairs) so that the house is totally dark and quiet where they are… it gives the impression that we’re all closed up for the night
  • If and when both parties are in agreement, they can sleep together in the same room (even on school nights). I’m lucky they still do this pretty often, though Anna is starting to refuse due to some blanket hogging issues

Bedtime is starting to creep later and later. It’s the sun’s fault. I’ve always wondered how I could get my kids to go to bed earlier, but they are always so full of energy and have so many “projects” they are working on that I just can’t seem to wrangle them in earlier.

What’s your system? Are you a strict about bedtime? How do you handle the popping up and getting out of bed? How do you get kids to stay in their rooms?

Systems: Getting those kids to bed