The Stalling tactics our Toddlers will use can be very clever and surprise us to know they understand how to do this on that level at this age…let me explain more.
Toddlers are the best at stalling tactics. They truly are fascinating. Don’t you agree? All you have to do is sit with them and watch as they develop before your eyes. They transform into inventive imaginative little people thinking about how to get what they want. It for me is such a fascinating time. Most parents wish this age would last a little while longer.
Hindsight is great – most parents say this
Let us be honest. It is only after their children have outgrown this age. Most parents then say how they wish their children were still in their toddler stage. This being due to the new level of creativity they have developed. As well as their newfound intelligence we did not imagine happening just yet. Along with these changes there is an enormous escalation in boundary-testing. Making for a rigorously frustrating experience.
During all my initial consultations with parents of a toddler. Without fall there is always an amusing story of some kind associated with their bedtime. Telling me these, even if it is said a little sheepishly. They describe how their little one manages to stretch story time to three or four stories a night. In some cases, it becomes five even six! Followed by a request for a drink as they are thirsty. This is given for them to only drink a few sips. From there, the good night must be said in a very specific way. Very drawn-out way. That ends up with all the parents looking at each other with utter wonder about how bedtime got to be at this point.
Let me share with you how it happened as it always in the same way… by doing all of these delay tactics, a little by little bit every time.
Boundaries are a sign of love
Testing boundaries are Toddlers, ultimate love. They are very aware that the one thing you want more than anything from them at bedtime, & that is to go to sleep. Which ends up with them being to their own advantage. This might sound a little unreal – it is simply their way of testing exactly where your boundaries are, and actually to find out exactly how much authority they hold and have in the house.
Let me share how this occurs – The first incidence usually happens like this.
The child makes a request for a drink. The parents think to themselves. “Oh yes you can’t go to bed thirsty, and what’s can be the harm?” Then on night 2, then repeat this request – I need a drink again and then there is the request for an extra story.
Over the next few days, they push the boundaries a little by little. Then roughly a week later the bedtime which used to take 30 mins now takes a minimum of 50 minutes & includes the following? A drink request, 2 extra stories, then followed with two special prolonged hugs and 3 all around the face kisses goodnight. Slowly, and little by little, over a few days and weeks this crazy bedtime routine becomes the norm and is established. All in accordance with the wants of the toddler.
Solutions to create change
Let us resolve these simply and effective. By setting two simple steps in place to resolve this.
- Most importantly – create and establish a short bedtime routine – max 30mins from beginning to end. With each step set out clearly.
- Simply and most effectively – NEVER deviate from it.
It is honestly that simple. I promise. I am not going to say that it wont be a challenge at times – Your child will test you – I am not trying to say otherwise. However, by sticking to the rules you are definitely going to create challenges initially. Your kids is 100% going to ask, test and complain. Of that you can be sure however, if you stick to the routine, don’t deviate or stay focused and on track. I promise you, they will quickly understand, in fact, usually sooner rather than later, that bedtime routine is no longer open for any debate.
The clear benefits
These benefits, to both of you and your kids. That will be despite the initial fact that your little one will not agree, and protests will occur. What you must hold onto is the fact that toddlers take a great deal of comfort from this. They like to know that you, the parent, are in control. By being firmly in charge. Showing confidence in the decisions you make. The sense of security they gain from this huge. The feeling of the sense of security is essential.
By staying in control. You prevent the toddler from starting to make the decisions. By staying in control, it stops them from feeling like they are in charge. Which translates to them that maybe Mum or Dad do not know what they are doing. By staying firm with routine and consistency those feeling of the need to control by your child simple starts to fade and the house can become calm again once they feel you are in charge and they feel safe and secure once more.
When this is in addition to an extremely predictable, repetitive bedtime routine. It is conducive to ensure a good night’s sleep occurs. It is during this time our brain sends signals that our body needs to starts secreting melatonin. This is the essential signal for our body to start relaxing our muscles. All in preparation for us to have a restful, relaxing recharging sleep.
A note on being well-rested. You will have become even more aware that when living with a toddler that is not well rest can be very challenging indeed. A tired toddler is an extremely difficult little person to parent. Never mind being around, when not well-rested. Making it a very stressful situation for everyone involved.
Setting the scenarios
If while reading this you can relate to these scenarios I have described and your bedtime is array of constant battles with your child, then do not delay – please get in touch! You do not have to have these battles. With results being quick to see when done correctly.
I offer a free 15-minute introductory call where we can chat about your situation. Talk about how I can help you and your family by working together. I can create you a sleep program to ensure you are off to a great start at bedtime and answer any questions you have about sleep support. In our call, I will advise which program would be best for you. These range from a 30-minute call to a 3-week program, All subject to your own personal family situation, ensuring a bespoke program is created with the right level of support you need is obtained.