Bedtime can be a huge struggle for parents, and that struggle is amplified when a sitter is trying to put the kids to bed. The good news is, there are things you can do to ease that struggle. There are a few basic categories that kids can fall into when it comes to bedtime, and below you’ll find some tips on how to approach bedtime with them.
This kid is both the best and worst kid when it comes to bedtime. Of course, you want to encourage their love of reading, and it’s even a little fun to revisit some of your own childhood favorites. But, when you’re six stories in, you’ll find yourself wondering at what point it’s safe to say that the child is taking advantage of the system.
My favorite way of putting these kids to bed is to make story time sort of like a secret slumber party. To do this, you’ll need a flashlight (the one on your phone is fine if you can’t find a regular flashlight) and your big stack of books. Read the first few stories with the lights on, and before you begin reading the last story, turn out the lights and read by flashlight. Kids love to feel like they’re doing something extra special when they have a babysitter, and they often fall asleep by the end of the story with the lights out.
The Stall Master
This kid will do literally anything to put bedtime off. It’ll start out with normal things like “Oh, I need a glass of water,” or “I really have to go potty.” Don’t be fooled—the ridiculousness is about to begin. Some kids will feign some sort of illness in an attempt to stay up later, others will swear up and down that they forgot to brush their teeth…even though they’ve already brushed them three separate times.
This kid will stop at nothing to delay the inevitable. Sometimes, these kids are hesitant to go to sleep while their parents are out, and they really just need a little company. I suggest sitting quietly on the floor of their bedroom until you’re fairly certain they’ve fallen asleep. Other times, you may just have to let the night play out. Eventually, the child will get tired enough to fall asleep, I promise.
You’ve probably experience this type of kid before—they just cry and cry and cry and there’s seemingly nothing you can do about it. They don’t want to go to bed, they don’t want a drink of water or their special blanket; they just want their mom and dad.
As a sitter, this situation can be very stressful because all you want to do is make the child feel better. It is okay to step out of the room and take a second for yourself if you begin to feel overwhelmed. One thing that seems to help soothe many of these kids is music. You might try playing music quietly aloud; Pandora has tons of awesome kid-friendly bedtime playlists. The music provides a distraction for the child, which can help them calm down and fall asleep.
The Light Bulb
These kids literally fall asleep the second their head hits the pillow. They’ve got their bedtime routine down to a science, and they understand when it is time to just go to sleep. They’re a pretty rare type of kid—personally, I’ve only heard rumors that they exist. If you know any kids like this, send them my way, friends.
Looking for more bedtime tips? Check out Ari’s video here.
Do you have any suggestions or experienced you’d like to share with us? Tweet us at @SitterMe using the #SitterTipTuesday!