Put the Kids to Bed!

Written by Claudia and David Arp, MSW

We love what Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “There never was a child so lovely but his [parents] were glad to get him asleep.”

Getting the kids to bed can be a challenge – especially with challenging kids. We still remember how our first child had us trained at age 20 months to sit in the “night-night” chair until he was sound asleep. That was after we read five books without skipping pages! But we learned that if we were going to build our marriage while parenting our kids, the bedtime challenge had to be met sometimes with brute force!

Now we could always get our kids in bed – the problem was keeping them there! After ten more glasses of water, five potty trips, and four more stories, we were also ready for bed. We were totally exhausted! Forget marriage enrichment!

How can you take some of the hassle out of getting your children to bed so you’ll have energy left for your spouse?

Here are some of the best tips from other parents:

  • Have a bedtime routine. Children love rituals so come up with your own rituals. When you set a new bedtime routine, start it a half hour before you want to turn out lights and say a final goodnight.
  • Give your child a stuffed animal or blanket to cuddle and take to bed with him or her.
  • Once your child is in bed and lights are turned out, don’t read another story, sing another song, apologize, argue, beg.
  • Reward good behavior.
  • If nothing works, consult your pediatrician. He or she may have some great suggestions for you to try.
  • Don’t make it rewarding for your child to get out of bed and come into yours. And on those occasions that they do, remember to cuddle with each other–not just the child!
  • Here’s some good advice. Never, but never, entertain or socialize in the middle of the night. Just be a total bore!
  • The next morning, you can be your adorable self again. And know that someday, your child will sleep through the night!

You know, there really isn’t anything as lovely as a sleeping kid!

Reprinted with permission from the Zondervan Publishing House newsletter

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