Inspired by my friend Chelsea:
Ways to trick your baby:
Problem: You’ve just switched over to the toddler bed (or taken the rail off your now-outlawed crib), and your toddler has discovered he has run of the room. Instead of sleeping, there’s a raucous party going on in there, a party of one (or in my case, two). You’ve taken all the toys out of the room, you’ve made sure it’s as boring and calm as it could possibly be, and still, your child has developed an imagination strong enough carry on a conversation with his fingers – child ingenuity at its best and most annoying.
Solution: First, have patience. None of these tactics are going to work on the first try. Keep going in after shorter intervals, putting the child back in bed and explaining to him that it is time to sleep. He’ll ignore you for the most part, but as he gets more tired, he’ll eventually nod off, and the message will have been sent to his subconscious for later use – “When mommy puts me in bed, it is time for sleep.” Obviously, this doesn’t work overnight. Something that hastens the process for us is taking the bulbs out of the light. When the babies find they can’t turn the light back on, they lose interest in trying to stay awake a lot more quickly.
Ways your baby tricks you:
Problems: If your child is not yet tall enough to reach the light switch right now, he soon will be. Every time you switch off the light, and quietly leave the room, within 30 seconds, you’ll see the room lighten and hear the laughter begin again. By now, it’s 10 or 11 p.m. Somebody really needs to sleep soon.
Solution: Take the bulbs out of the light. Or unplug the lamp and put a socket protector in for the night. Or, if you’re lucky, like us, turn the light off manually so that the wall switch no longer works. The first time we did this, the babies shouted at us, “Oh no! Light! Light on, light on! Mama help!” After the third night, they realized mama wasn’t going to help this time because it was time for bed. If they’re really wound up, they may still try to play for a while, but without the aid of the light, they get bored and tired a lot more quickly, and everybody wins. If your child is afraid of the dark, invest in a soothing night light. I’ve found my kids don’t like the ones with shapes or movements, it distracts them at naptime, and during the night, it can actually scare them.
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