Does your child like to call you back into the bedroom multiple times a night for anything and everything they can think of? Maybe it is needing the potty, another drink or one extra hug or kiss? It can be awfully hard as parents not to keep coming back in. Those extra kissed and hugs can seem so sweet. And if you have a potty training toddler you may worry that if you don’t do that toilet trip there will be an accident overnight. But what happens if bedtime is drawn out so long that you know your child is missing out on much-needed sleep?
Children love to get their parents to come back into the room after bedtime. Children are smart little chickens and they know what things to say or do so that they will get their parents back in the room. So what do you do if you know your child has had enough to drink and has been to the toilet and they are now just trying to extend bedtime as long as possible?
Enter the pass card…..
When your child is old enough to have a good discussion about their delaying habits, you can sit down and talk to them about the effect of their delaying tactics and your plan of action. Let them know that when bedtime gets drawn out they are missing out on vital sleep that they need to help them grow and thrive and to have the energy to do the fun things they love. Once you’ve had this discussion you can talk about your plan to conquer the curtain calls = the pass card.
A pass card can be a great way to limit callbacks. You can even make a physical pass card that they hand in. That way they see it leaving their possession and it becomes concrete that they use it and then lose the privilege of another callback. The way you can explain it to your child is that they can hand in that pass card only once at night after bedtime and any other requests will be ignored.
Once you implement this pass card system your child will learn to use their pass card wisely and wait until they have a true need. Of course, it is likely they will test it out for a few days first just to see how it works! If you find your smart little one starts to routinely hand in that pass card once a night for something extra that they don’t really need (hug, kiss, drink, whatever it may be) you can decide to change the rules of that pass card and extend it to once every couple of days or only once a week.
Or the last call…
During the last few minutes of your soothing bedtime routine, you can let your child know that this is the last time they can ask for something they need (like a drink or last trip to the potty). You can remind them that after this you will not be entertaining any further requests and will not be coming back into the room should they call out for something.
If you need extra help with your child’s sleep, please feel free to reach out for help and support. Together we can develop a strategy to improve your child’s sleep based on your unique circumstances and goals.