How many times have you had to argue with your child when it is bed time, despite your child knowing exactly what time he is supposed to go to bed? However, as I’m sure you know, getting your child to finally go to bed, and on time, can be a real mission. But it doesn’t have to be! By giving your child a warning period of 15 minutes before he is due to go, it will avoid conflict and hassle when the time actually arrives.
First of all, you need to have introduced set bed times for your child from when he starts to go to nursery school. In any case he will need regular and sufficient sleep once he goes to school, as he will now be officially learning, and being academically educated. He needs to be fresh for school if he is to learn well, so bedtimes become very important.
Often your child will say to you, when it is time to go, “can I just finish this program or game”, or “I’m nearly finished”, or “just a few more minutes please”. Then it can easily escalate into an argument if you say no. But by using this method every night, it just becomes the normal routine, and non negotiable. It definitely makes your life easier and less stressful, and helps your child.
How often have you had a battle with your child over bedtime? “Can I just finish that TV program?” or “I’ve nearly finished my game” are just a couple of delaying tactics. By starting young, and creating a non negotiable routine, bedtime can be permanently enjoyable for you and your child, and not a source of disagreements.
Start when your child is about 4 years old, when he starts to go to nursery school, and introduce the ‘rule’ of going to bed at 7.00 pm. Once you have done this, make sure you always give about 15 minutes notice before bedtime. This will allow your child to finish what he is doing, whether it is a game he is playing or a TV program he is watching.
Once you have started regular bedtimes, you can introduce a later bedtime for every birthday that is reached. Each year the time goes back 15 minutes, so at age 10, it is 8.30 pm, then it continues up to the age of 16 when it becomes 10.00 pm. After this age, your child will go to bed when he wants, although you should try to keep a routine during term time.
If you introduce this routine very early on in your child’s life, it will never become an issue. It will also ensure that you and your partner get some quality relaxation time together in the evening, once the children are in bed, when you can really focus on each other.