It can be a never ending battle for some families, trying to get kids to go to bed at night. Each family has different dynamics so the strategies will differ from family to family. I like to encourage reading a book in bed to wind down. Some kids enjoy this. Often one parent will read a book to kids at night. This can be tricky though if you have multiple kids at different ages.
I allow my kids to have a later bedtime on the week ends when they don’t have to get up early for school the next day. Kids are more likely to abide by the rules during the week if they get to take a break during the week end. That strategy worked for me. It is important to start forming patterns when kids are still young. If you faithfully do this, things will get easier in the long run.
Some kids transition to bed easier than others. My daughter had issues going to bed and would always be popping out just one more time. We started up a star chart to encourage her to stay in bed at night. When she got five stars I would give her some money for tuck shop at school. I knew that would be a great incentive for her.
When you first start encouraging a certain behaviour, the incentives should be more frequent, then as the child does the required behaviour more often, you can have less frequent rewards. I’m not suggesting that everything gets a reward. You know what your kid needs to improve on. I suggest letting the small undesirable things go unnoticed and concentrate on the important things.
I found that after about three weeks, the star chart lost its effectiveness for Rebekah so I would try something else. Most things lose their appeal after long enough and what works for one child doesn’t necessarily work for the next. That’s just life. Find out what works for your child and use that.
I would always provide my kids with warning that bedtime was approaching. I found that when they had a fifteen minute warning, a ten minute warning and a five minute warning, they would go willingly when it was bed time. This is more applicable for younger children. By the time mine were ten years old, I would just tell them once.
One final tip that I did with my four kids. I would make sure they all had one some one on one time with me, even if only for five minutes. I would get with them individually to ask about their day, find out if anything was concerning them and generally listen to what they had to say. If you don’t take the time to talk to them before bed time, often at bed time they will feel the need for some extra attention.
I hope these tips have been helpful. BTW, if you take a look at my shop (link below) you will see a CD called Sleeping Angels. http://www.mychildcanbehave.com/shop/
This is for kids as they are drifting off to sleep at night. The CD is full of positive affirmations for your child and help them sleep better, not to mention improve their self esteem while they sleep. Check it out. Your child will love it!