ก็อย่างที่เคยเล่าไปใน blog ก่อนหน้านี้ว่า เจ้าน้องบรุกซ์ ลูกชายไม่ค่อยอยากเข้านอนเมื่อถึงเวลานอน
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Bedtime battles: How to nip them in the bud
by Karen Miles
Reviewed by the BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board
- Why grade-schoolers resist bedtime
- What you can do about bedtime battles
Why grade-schoolers resist bedtime
If you're like most parents, you're all too familiar with this scenario: You put your grade-schooler to bed at 9 at night, hugging and kissing her and wishing her sweet dreams. It's been a long day, but still the dinner dishes await, you have bills to pay, the dog needs to be walked and the cat fed, and you haven't had a spare moment to put your feet up. But instead of spending the rest of the evening catching up on your chores and clocking some precious time with your partner, you're in and out of your child's room, cajoling her to sleep. She finally nods off — about three hours after she first went to bed.
Take heart: Bedtime can be rough for a grade-schooler. Her body is growing and her schedule is more complicated than ever, so she needs plenty of rest.
Unfortunately, the pressures of life can get in the way of slumber. "Kids this age can be anxious worriers," says Jodi A. Mindell, associate professor of psychology at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia and the author of Sleeping Through the Night. Like an adult, your child may fall into bed only to lie awake and worry. She may be obsessing about what the next school day holds or her grade on today's test. Maybe she's worried about the bully on the bus or whether her best friend's mad at her. No wonder she keeps popping out of bed to talk things over with you!
What you can do about bedtime battles
Set aside some time to talk to your child about her day.
Your grade-schooler may be fighting sleep simply because she needs time to check in with you after a long day at school. Especially if you work long hours yourself, allot some time before bed to chat with her about goings-on at school and to get the scoop on the latest dramas in her social life. You may find that she's more amenable to sleep if she's had a chance to unburden herself.
Stick to a bedtime routine. Draw up a written "contract" together
that you can embellish on the computer or decorate with crayons and stickers. The contract should outline exactly what the bedtime routine includes and in what order — bath, toothbrushing, two books, and a glass of water, say, followed by a few minutes of listening to quiet music. Give her some notice before it's time to start the ritual each night
("Anna, five minutes before bath time!"). Try not to let her dawdle
, or drag things out with activities that aren't part of the routine — no third glass of water or repeat reading of her favorite bedtime story.
When your grade-schooler goes to bed on time, the rewards for you are obvious. Make it clear what's in it for her too. When she gets with the program, praise her, mark it on the calendar, and give her a small reward — 15 extra minutes of TV time, for instance, or a phone call to a long-distance pal. After a week of good bedtime behavior, treat her to something extra special — such as a new book or an afternoon outing with her best friend. You might even set up a bartering system — tokens earned for getting to bed on time and staying there, and tokens lost for getting to bed late or getting up after lights-out. A certain number of tokens "buys" her game time on the computer or a new key chain to add to the collection dangling from her backpack.
Offer choices. Refusing to go to bed is a powerful way for your child to assert herself.
So it might help to find an acceptable means for allowing her to be assertive. Let her decide if she wants to read some of her Spider magazine or a chapter of Harry Potter before getting some shuteye, for instance, or ask if she'd like a sip of water before or after she climbs into bed. Be careful to offer only choices you can live with; if you ask "Want to go to bed now?" you probably won't like the answer you get.
Be calm but firm. Even if your child cries or pleads for an exception to the going-to-bed rule, stand your ground. If you're frustrated, don't engage in a power struggle.
Speak calmly and quietly but insist that when time's up, time's up. If you give in to her request for "five more minutes, please," you'll only hear it again tomorrow night.
Limit TV viewing. Grade-schoolers who watch TV in the evenings have more trouble getting to bed and sleeping well through the night
, according to Mindell. Not surprisingly, kids with TVs in their rooms have the toughest time of all. It's not just about violent shows — in fact, any sort of TV-watching seems to energize kids rather than help them relax. So limit your kid's time with the boob tube, especially as bedtime draws near.
Take the stepladder to success.
You can't expect your child to learn, in one fell swoop, how to go to bed and sleep all night according to your perfect scenario. Take it one step at a time
: If your grade-schooler's used to falling asleep in your bed, maybe her first step is to fall asleep in her own. Her second step could be learning to limit her nocturnal "escapes" to one per night, or calling for you only once without actually getting up. Build your way to the ultimate goal (sleeping through the night without a peep) in successive, successful steps.
Figure out why your grade-schooler finds it tough to keep her head on the pillow at night. Pay attention to the things she worries about during the day to get an idea of what might be bugging her when the sun goes down.
Ask about her specific objections to bedtime — is it because she's not tired? Scared? It's too quiet? Offer her a flashlight if she's afraid of the dark. Let her play a soothing CD at low volume. And be sure to listen to her ideas about what might be helpful. After all, a plan that she helps devise has a better chance of succeeding.
Make sure your grade-schooler's getting lots of fresh air and exercise during the day too. Also consider moving bedtime back an hour (just make sure you allow for nine to 11 hours of sleep a night, which is what kids this age need). Some physical activity and a slight schedule change may be all it takes to ensure that your child is good and tired when bedtime rolls around.