3 Tricks Your Toddler Uses To Stall Bedtime

Watch for these three stalling techniques to avoid the bedtime fuss.

Getting your baby to sleep through the night is the first of many possible bedtime-related issues you’ll face as a parent. If you’re not careful, your kid’s bad sleeping habits will disrupt both of your lives. A delayed bedtime prevents you from getting to all those other activities on your to-do list. Instead of walking the dog, preparing for tomorrow or just getting a chance to put your feet up, you’re dealing with a fussy two-year old who protests sleep like her life depends on it. Cave in too many times, and neither of you will get a good night’s rest. What’s more, if this habit persists throughout elementary school, your child may suffer issues related to attention, memory and decision making, as Time Magazine noted. Help your baby sleep through the night by countering these 3 stalling tactics:

1. They won’t leave your side

You know your kids love you, but some nights they seem to dial up the affection a little too much. They won’t stop hugging you or showering you with kisses, and they protest when you leave the room and turn out the light. After a few moments, you hear the creak of their bedroom door opening and the pitter-patter of their feet wandering out to find you. If you’re particularly susceptible to this type of trick, you’ll find your own toddlers climbing into your bed night after night.

Use gentle encouragement and tell your toddlers that bedtime is a part of growing into a big kid. If necessary, Parents Magazine recommended putting bells on your door handle. That way, you hear your kids opening the door and can put them back in their beds before the climb into yours.

A toddler sleeping in bed.Sleeping in their bed is a part of growing up.

2. They “aren’t sleepy”

You’re probably no stranger to cries of “I’m not tired” paired with yawns, eye-rubbing and heavy eyelids. Every parent hears this complaint several nights a week – as well as the tantrums that result after persistent back-and-forth. But, if they say they’re not tired, how do you get kids to sleep?

If it’s late and you’ve had an active day, then your kids are definitely sleepy. However, there might be too much outside stimulation for them to feel it.

Bring your children home from play dates and other activities well before bedtime so they have a chance to calm down. Keep this up as they reach elementary age. Too many after-school activities will reignite the sleeping issues of toddlerhood.

This concept also applies inside the home. Reduce outside sources of stimulation and promote a sense of restfulness by turning off electronics during dinner and encouraging relaxation at bath time. Also, resist the urge to multitask while putting your kids to sleep. Doing so clues them to the fact that things are happening after they go to bed, and they’d much rather stay up and be a part of whatever is going on.

3. They keep asking you for things

This is one of the most effective stalling tactics. Kids often ask for a glass of water or say they’re hungry right as they’re tucked in, and they know you’ll be sympathetic to these types of appeals rather than, “I want more candy!” Use your best judgment and don’t let them fool you. If your kids ask you for something, wait a few moments before delivering it. When they aren’t rewarded immediately, they’ll be forced to give up and find a way to sleep

How to get your kids to sleep is one of the first parenting questions you’ll need to solve, and it’s important to do so in a timely manner to discourage bad habits. Stand your ground and look out for these three stalling methods. With a little persistence, you and your children will get a good night’s rest.

Autumn Green is an artist-turned-writer who traded the sweet tea of the south for the deep dish pizza of Chicago. Her favorite subjects include art, culture, design, small business/entrepreneurship and healthful living.