How do I get my preschooler ready for bed without a fight?
Q: I'm having a lot of trouble with getting my almost three-year-old daughter to bed. Once she is in bed everything is ok, but the process is a nightmare!! She fights everything: does not want to brush teeth, runs around her room, won't put on her pjs on herself, but won't lie down to have them put on. I ultimately have to tie her down while she screams so I can brush teeth and get her pjs on. I've tried earlier and later bedtimes, reward charts for cooperation and nothing is working. Help!!
A: Toddlers can be a challenge at bedtime. Try creating a bedtime chart that shows all the steps of her routine, including brushing teeth and putting on her pjs. After each step you can check the chart as to what is supposed to happen next. Make the last step of the routine a favorite activity to encourage her to do the earlier less pleasant activities. You can even set a timer and reward her with a special activity, such as an extra bedtime story or favorite game, if she finishes all the things that she needs to do before the bell rings. Making it a game rather than a fight can help tremendously and calm things down.
Answered by Dr. Jodi Mindell