Number of kids: 3
Ages of kids: 15mo, 2, 10
Problem: Our daughter who will turn 3 in September refuses to go to bed at night unless her father or I lay down with her. She throws crying, screaming fits and gets out of her bed constantly. I have tried leaving night lights on, letting her read books in bed, giving her warm baths and nixing afternoon naps. We are very active outside during the day but no matter how tired she is, she refuses to go to bed alone. Basically every night we put her in bed at 8:00pm and then by 10:00 one of us goes in to lay down with her so she will go to sleep. I dread every evening, because I know the majority of it will be spent trying to get her in bed and listening to cries and whines. My husband and I do not have any quiet time alone at night and this problem tends to wake the other kids up at night. Help! My two year old is a very strong willed child and tends to have her own agenda at all times. Time outs aren't working, talking to her doesn't work. Any ideas?
Solution submitted by Zillah & Paul from Sydney, AUS: We had a similar problem with out daughter and gradually weaned her off this behaviour by using a reward system. The most successful of these was the star chart. We put a piece of cardboard on the wall of her room and was rewarded with a gold star whenever she went to bed alone, went to the toilet in time, and general behaviour. On the fifth star she got a bonus in the form of a present such as clips for her hair, special outing... little things that would appeal. And she is allowed to glue the star up herself. We sang her songs when she was in bed and the time we spent with her got shorter and shorter. After the songs, we left the room. She has a range of coloured stars and chooses which one to stick up.
Comment regarding the previous solution; submitted by Joanna and Ron from Stow, MA: Our daughter, Ariella (2 yrs 4 months), had refused to go to bed by herself since her brother, Zachary, came home from the hospital 5 weeks ago. No manner of negotiation or persuasion would help. Three nights ago, we discovered Paul and Zillah's submission regarding setting up a reward system, and thank goodness we did! We explained to Ariella that every time she fell asleep alone she would earn a sticker, and 5 stickers would earn her a present. The transformation was dramatic and instant-- suddenly Ariella understood that going to sleep by herself was not a punishment, but a badge of honor. We have now had three consecutive nights of peace and quiet-- unthinkable 4 nights ago! We want to thank Paul and Zillah for their outstanding suggestion, and to vouch for its effectiveness.
Editor's Note: Thanks Joanna and Ron! It's always nice to hear from people who try out some of the solutions on here, and even better to hear when they WORK! I'm sure Paul and Zillah also appreciate your comments. --Delila
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