I often talk about parenting during the day vs parenting during the night. Particularly in relation to the toddler or younger child, and particularly with night-time battles (staying in bed, going off to sleep).
Think about whether you are using the same expectations at night as you are during the day; if a child is not sure of the expectation, or if the parenting is “mis-matched” this can be part of having issues at night with sleep.
So, think about it:
– are you expecting independence during the day but not at night, or vice a versa?
– are you giving in to demands for constant attention during the day but not at night, or vice a versa?
Your child sends out signals to you and waits for the return signal as to what the expectation is. I like to ask myself, “What is my child learning (or not learning) during this particular interaction with me?”
There is no one right way to parent, but being both empathetic and definite in your expectation, during daytime and at night is a positive way to raise children.
Here is an example for you:
“I hear that you do not want to go to sleep right now. That’s fine — I can’t make your body go to sleep. But it is bedtime, so you’ll need to use your bedtime manners:
1. stay in your bed
2. be calm and quiet
I love you and I’m looking forward to seeing you again when bedtime is over.”