Does your child do battle with you every night it's time for him to go to bed? Here's help.
Every night when it was time for Mridula to put 2 year old Vishal to bed, the battle would begin.
"Vishal, it's eight o' clock. Time for bed sweetheart!"
"NO!" Vishal screams.
"Yes. Put away your toys and get ready for your bath. Do it now! I'm counting to 3, and if you don't stop playing, I'm coming to get you, and I will be very angry!"
"NO! NO! NO!" Vishal keeps screaming. He runs to his mother before she finishes counting to 3 and demands to stay awake a little longer. Mridula picks him up, screaming and kicking, pins him down with the help of Savita, and forces him into the tub, where she bathes him as he sobs heartbreakingly. She then changes him into his pyjamas and lays him down on the bed. He is still crying when she turns off the light and walks off, feeling incredibly guilty, her heart going out to her crying baby. But she has to discipline him, doesn't she? Vishal has to be in bed every night by eight, and only if he is firm will he listne to her. But he seems to have a mind of his own. At two, he's already getting out of hand! What is she going to do with him when he grows a little older, Mridula wonders in despair.
Yes, it is true that children must be taught discipline, but at the same time parents need to stop expecting children to jump to attention everytime they snap their fingers. Children are individual persons, and they start asserting their individuality at a very young age. Parents would do well to remember this, and start respecting their individuality and independence if they want to raise confident kids. How would you like it if you were watching your favourite television programme and your spouse came and turned off the television and said it was time for bed, whether you liked it or not?
Learn to stop commanding your children and give them some leeway. Give them fifteen minutes to half an hour to wind up what they are doing. Remind them that it is going to be time for bed in a short while, so they should finish off what they are doing. Keep reminding them gently that it is going to be time for bed. Tell your daughter that you will let her play with her doll for five more minutes, and then will she be ready to go to bed? She will answer yes, and then will not be as aggressive when it is bedtime.
Give your child choices. Ask her to choose whether she wants to wear the pink nightdress or the green pyjamas. Ask her to choose which toy she wants to sleep with tonight.
Getting both parents involved also helps. Let daddy give her a bath at night, while you dry her up and help her change into her nightdress. Just a little thoughtfulness and seeing things from the eyes of your child will go a long way in making her a secure, confident adult, and will make bedtimes less of a battletime!
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