Every night it is a battle trying to get my kids to sleep. I am so overwhelmed by all of their excuses every night. I don't know how to make it so it's not a battle. If it isn't their toes itching, it's the fighting back and forth (they share a room for now), or they can't find a stuffed animal, or it's too dark/light. Any excuse is a good excuse. I am so stressed every night that it usually resorts to yelling and I can't do it any more. Please any help to make this easier? They are 8 and almost 6.
So people may disagree with me....but offer something that highly motivates them first thing in the morning if they have a good bedtime.....have a talk with them well before bedtime, before they are tired. Make a simple list of what you want them to do....
like pjs on, potty and brush teeth, read book, lights out, go to sleep/don't bug mom unless it's an emergency. If they do it...they get the highly desirable item first thing in the morning. Maybe icecream for breakfast? Or really whatever motivates them.... The key is to give the reward right away when they wake up (immediate gratification) and praise them big time. Tell them how proud you are, how peaceful it was, how much you loved the calm bedtime and story with them. Tell other people (in front of the kids) how good they were....
Maybe sounds crazy, like bribes.....but really you are shaping a behavior....once they do it well for a couple days, don't offer the reward (if they ask, maybe think of something else special that is more appropriate than icecream for breakfast) but continue with the praise.
This is a positive re enforcement approach. You can do negative re enforcement....but the positive one is more fun and can be just as sucessful.
I can't offer any advice because I go through the same thing every night, its exhausting. Can you try putting the younger on to bed maybe half an hour earlier?
My 4 year old loves to get out of bed 10 times after I put her down asking for stuff. Finally, I used her favorite thing as leverage: her morning cup of chocolate milk. If she stays in bed, she gets it. If she gets out of bed, no chocolate milk that morning (just regular milk instead, which she doesn't like). Seems to work well most nights.
I don't know how this would work with a 6 or 8 year old but for my 4 year old we offer her one of three choices every nigh after our normal bed time routine (bath, teeth brushes, stories) and before we tuck her in: choice a) a drink of water, b) an extra story, or c) mommy to lay with her and scratch her back for 10 minutes. That combined with a reward chart where one of her "jobs" is staying in bed has completely eliminated her getting out of bed at night. Your kids are older but I think you can adjust the rewards/choices to suit them.
I ignore the excuses. My DD1 (shes 7) gets water and whatever she needs before bed and thats that. If she gets out i tell her it's too late and it's bedtime go back to bed. I dont cater to any of the excuses or the whining. She's just putting off bedtime. I stuck to it and we rarely have any issues now.
My boys (8 & 6) share a room..... I stagger their bed times, youngest one about 30 mins before the oldest so he's asleep first and there's no fighting/ talking excuses. I ignore most excuses, unless its bathroom related.