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What should I do if my toddler gets upset about bedtime?

Lately, my toddler has been getting very angry about having to go to sleep. Every night she bites, slaps, pinches, and struggles with us. What should I do?
Submitted by Parents.com Team

Many kids don't like to go to bed because they think they're missing out on something. While this is normal, you should make it very clear that no matter how angry your child is about bedtime, biting and hitting are not allowed. Be firm -- say, "No biting," and put her in a time-out chair away from you for a minute or two. Just ignore any tantrums that may follow this punishment (we know that's easier said than done, but trust us, it will work). After the brief time-out, continue with your normal bedtime routine. If the tantrums have been robbing your daughter of precious sleep time, consider starting her bedtime routine earlier so you don't create a vicious cycle that just leaves her even more tired and cranky the next night.

When you finally get your daughter into bed, say goodnight and leave. Be sure her room is well childproofed in case she gets out of bed and pitches a fit. If she marches into your room to complain, return her promptly and firmly to her bed. If you're consistent and don't give in to her demands to let her stay up or sleep with you, eventually she'll get back on track.

Copyright 2009

The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.

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