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Support and Advice from TNPC's Parenting Experts

Does your child refuse to go to bed or to stay in the bedroom? Does he prolong the bedtime interaction with never ending questions, unreasonable requests, protests, and tantrums? If so, you’re dealing with bedtime refusal, a common way for young children to postpone bedtime and stay up with you. To deal with this delaying tactic:

• First, establish a rule that your child can’t leave his bedroom at night. You decide the hours.

• Second, ignore any verbal request. Don’t engage in any conversation with your child at this time.

• Third, for screaming, close the bedroom door. Tell him that you’ll be happy to open the door as soon as he’s quiet.

• Fourth, for coming out of the bedroom, return him immediately and remind him that he can’t leave his bedroom at night. Close the door and tell him that you can open it as he’s in bed, and every ten minutes or so, ask your child if he’s in bed now. Some parents consider closing the bedroom door extreme, but in my experience this action is essential for teaching a child that parents mean what they say.

During Dr. Schmitt’s 20 years as a medical practitioner and researcher, he has published over 100 articles or chapters on pediatric health care, and has been awarded the distinguished C. Anderson Aldrich Award by the American Academy of Pediatrics for outstanding contributions to the field of child development. Schmitt has also authored five books including Your Child’s Health, which won Child Magazine’s first Hall of Fame Award in 1991. Schmitt is also a professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and on staff at The Children’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado.

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Behavioral, Problem, Support and Advice, Temporary