Welcome to the all new Two-Minute Tuesday, brought to you by Chad Rudnick, M.D. and Boca VIPediatrics! Join us for two minutes as we interview some of the top experts in pediatrics & parenting.
In today’s installment of Two Minute Tuesday, we are fortunate to have Jennifer Kelman back for part two of her parenting tips. Jennifer is a social worker and life/parenting coach extraordinaire! As a parenting coach, Jennifer is used to dealing with listening and behavioral issues in children of all ages.
In today’s Two-Minute Tuesday, let’s hear another “gotta ask” question (even more to come in the next installment…) and answer from Jennifer.
Today’s question is a biggie:
“I cannot get my young child to stay in their bed at night and it turns into many hours of screaming and exhaustion for all of us. What can we do?!?”
Be firm. Be consistent. Be patient.
This is extremely common for parents with young children and even if you have not practiced any type of sleep training, it is not too late. There is hope. Develop a strong bed time routine and bed time and stick with it no matter what. Dinner, bath, story time, and bed as an example is something to follow. Now, I know what you are thinking…”I have done all this but as soon as I leave my child’s room, they run out.” We all practice some form of this, but exhaustion and exasperation often have us give up and the behaviors remain. Go easy on yourself as we have all been there. Be firm with your child to let them know that they must stay in their bed. If they come out, you walk them back with one simple sentence such as, “It is time to relax.”
Kids think that they are missing something when they are in their rooms and if they are rewarded by coming out, they will keep coming. No extra time with you, no “one more book,” no nothing. A calm and flat tone works best. Give your child plenty of love and affection during the day so that you don’t end up feeling pangs of guilt when not giving them the love they pull for during this bed time struggle. This is not really the time for it…give plenty of love and affection during the day so that once you snuggle, hug and kiss them goodnight, bed time becomes about going to sleep.
Be firm, be consistent, and be patient. The first few nights will be the hardest and they will test by possibly screaming, kicking, and flailing, but remain strong. Remove objects that could cause harm if they escalate. Do not match their escalation. Remain calm. If one parent has the ability to be calmer in these moments then that should be the parent that walks the child back to the room. With unwavering consistency by you, the child will understand that this is the routine and there is no reward by coming out. Soon you will have a child that goes to bed with ease, stays in their bed and sleeps peacefully through the night.
Jennifer Kelman is a licensed clinical social worker and life/parenting coach. She has worked with individuals, families and adolescents for the last 24 years. She has a fresh and direct approach and believes there is a solution to all things. She has lectured around the country on various topics such as self esteem, parenting issues, eating disorders and more. Jennifer grew up in Jericho, New York, where at age 14 she began babysitting and volunteering at her local hospital to help children suffering from illness. Her love of children prompted her education and career path, as she graduated with a BA in Sociology from American University and then a Masters in Social Work from New York University.
Follow Dr. Chad Rudnick on Twitter: @Peds_doc