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How To Get Kids To Stay In Bed

Do you want to know how to get kids to stay in bed once you put them there? Well, you're not alone. This is a common parenting problem. I'm Nicholeen Peck and I teach all about parenting and skills and development, relationships, family unity and in this article we're going to be talking about getting kids to go to bed and stay there. 


In this article, I'm going to be talking about how I taught my children to stay in bed when they didn't want to and key skills that you can use to help your children be motivated to stay in bed for the future. Hasn't everyone had the experience where their child gets put to bed and then they wake up? Mom, I'm thirsty. Mom, I need to go to the bathroom. Mom, I don't feel good. Mom, I'm scared. Mom, come tell me a story. Mom, you didn't give me a kiss. 

You know whatever it is, thing after thing after thing and they come out, they sneak out, they find you, you're reading your book or watching a television program and all of a sudden little eyes are peering around the corner. 

I actually remember doing that as a child. I remember sneaking to the top of my stairs and looking down and trying to see and hear what my parents were doing because I just didn't want to go to sleep yet. I wasn't tired yet. Well, that is definitely a problem that many children face. Now relating to the tiredness, if your child does not like to go to bed very readily, you really probably ought to skip the nap. 

Now, I know somebody is panicking, thinking no! The nap. I love the nap, the nap is awesome. Yes, it might be but it also might be destroying their ability to go to bed at night. Not every single child needs a nap. Now, I think we could probably safely say every parent needs a nap but that doesn't mean that the children need a nap. So, that's one thing that is very easy to adjust. 

It does mean they'll get a little grumpier in the evening but chances are they'll go to bed a lot more quickly. I had a problem with one of my children not wanting to stay in bed when her older brother and sister were older so they got to stay up a little bit later and mom and dad weren't in bed too. 

This was London. So, if you happen to know my children or have seen some of the books like London Larae says Okay, that's a book about her learning to follow instructions and that's a key thing because actually, this story is about her learning that very skill. 

So when London was little, she would get put to bed, and then we found out that she started sneaking out from her bed. Sometimes we found her even collapsed asleep in other places around the house because she didn't want to stay in her bed when other people weren't. 

We knew we needed to address staying in the bed and teaching her, that it was okay to stay in the bed, that it was even a positive thing to stay in the bed because really if everybody else is up, what's positive for staying in your bed? There isn't one. You're missing all the fun and you know it so we decided we better make things fun for London so that she would go to bed. 

So what I did was I pre-taught London how to stay in bed. I taught her the skill of staying in bed and I want to teach that to you too. Before I talk to you about the skill of how to stay in bed that I taught London and that you are going to find very beneficial, I would like to invite you to subscribe to this blog. So, what is that skill? The skill that you teach your child is the skill of following instructions. 

There was a way I taught London though with the pre-teaching that was so powerful. The skill following instructions, you look at the person, you keep a calm, face voice and body you say okay, you're asked to disagree appropriately, you do the task immediately which would mean get in your bed and then you check back. 

So in the morning, they would say mom, I went to bed and I didn't get out, that's how they would follow the instruction for going to bed. But the way I taught it was more fun than just explaining the skill. So, what I did was during the day, it was probably at about maybe 1pm. I said London, I want to teach you a game. This game is really fun do you want to play it. 

This pretend game with me and she said yes because she loved to play pretend. So, I said this game is called it's time for bed. Now, we're gonna pretend that we go to bed but we are not really going to bed, okay? So, you can't go to bed. She's like okay. 

I said all right but we're gonna pretend we're going to bed. Okay, I said this is how it works. We're gonna pretend it's nighttime and that I'm a mommy and you're London and I'm gonna say London, it's time for bed and when I say it's time for bed, you're gonna say okay and you're gonna run off to your bed and then you're gonna get right in your bed and you're gonna wait for me and then I'm gonna come in and I'm gonna tuck you in and sing you a little song and tell you what a great job you did it going to bed and then I'm gonna walk out of your room but you don't have to go to sleep, okay? I'm gonna walk out of your room and I'm gonna wait for just a couple of minutes then I'm gonna come back and I'm gonna say it's morning, London. It's time to wake up and then you're gonna say ah! It's morning and you're gonna wake up and then I'm gonna praise you for going to bed and staying in bed the whole time and then after we're done, we're gonna have a treat, okay? And she said okay. 

So, then we started our practice. I said London, it's time for bed, that's an instruction and she said okay and she ran off and then I went and tucked her in. She said I went straight to bed, I gave her praise for going straight to bed, and then I said I'll come back in the morning.

I went out of her room for just a couple of minutes and I came back and said it's morning, London. You did such a great job staying in your bed the whole night. So, then she said yay, we hugged, we did a high five. It was so fun. So, we practiced this multiple times. 

Every single time London got a treat. I went through a lot of fruit snacks that day and then after that, I declared that London knew the skill of how to go to bed. She could follow instructions and I explained to her that if she chose not to follow instructions, then there would be a way that I would handle that. 

So, how did I handle it if she didn't follow instructions? Well, you have to know she actually followed instructions every time but I told her that if she ever chose not to say okay and go to bed and stay there and then check back later, so following that full instruction, then what I would do is I would correct her because when you don't follow instructions at our house, you have a correction. So, I would do a proper correction. 

This is a 7 step process. It's a very calm process. It's some words that we say and that part of this correction would involve a negative consequence. The negative consequence was an extra chore. The extra chore is not something that she earns right then because you know some of them would do many extra chores if they didn't have to go to bed. 

So, the extra tour is something that she gets to earn in the morning. So, if she earns an extra chore, I write it down on a little sticky note, I stick it on my cupboard, and when we wake up in the morning, she gets the opportunity to talk about the situation that happened the night before one more time just to remember it didn't happen right, she does the extra chore, checks back, and gets praised. 

Little London learned how to go to bed. In fact, all of my children learned how to go to bed the very same way. Hames is amazing. They make going to bed so much fun and really it was a bonding experience. It made going to bed positive instead of going to bed negative and solitary. So, maybe there's something else that your family might like to know, something besides going to bed?

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