July 02, 2015

Q: My boys act like they are ready for bed after bath and stories, but when I shut the door they both start talking and my 2 1/2 year old will get out of his bed several times, mainly going over to his brother's bed or sometimes jumping on his bed! It sometimes will take an hour for them to go to sleep. I feel nothing is working (I've tried sitting in until they are sleeping, a fan for white noise, nightlight, quiet retucks, not so quiet retucks, skipping bath). How do I get them to fall asleep quicker?

A: There is no surefire way to get two children to calm down when sharing a room and definitely no way to literally make them go to sleep. However, one thing that can be surprisingly helpful is to build in playtime after lights out.  Allowing playtime but limiting it leads to a win-win situation. They get to enjoy themselves a bit, which they were going to do anyway, but there are now limits and that puts you more in control. So try setting a timer and allowing 10 minutes or so of playtime after lights out. When the timer goes off, then it's time to be in bed and quiet. If they are quiet, then they earn an award in the morning – such as having a special breakfast or getting to play a game with you.

Answered by Dr. Jodi Mindell


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