Poor baby, you look tired…
By manipulating a bit “My poor baby, you look exhausted. Good for you! You wanted to play hide and seek tomorrow. You will feel better if you sleep early” or by using reverse psychology “You don’t have to sleep now! Anyway, Alexis is in bed now, it will give him a chance to beat you at soccer for once”, children feel like they decided to go to bed on their own. That way, they are happy to begin the routine and they do not argue.
An important part of a child’s nights depends on their circadian rhythm (sleep/wakefulness) and conditioning. If you tell them to brush their teeth and read for 15 minutes every evening at 7:30, they will feel sleepy at the same time every day.
My daughter knows very well that I will eventually leave the room because she always wakes up alone but she likes to pretend that I will be there for a long time. She finds it comforting so I lie down next to her, I close my eyes and I act as if I was trying to sleep too. Usually, she talks about something that happened during her day and I let her talk because it is a nice moment for her when we are alone and no one can interrupt her. When she finishes her story, we don’t talk anymore. Time to sleep!
A beautiful story
Children love when we read a story and change our voice. Even though Winnie the Pooh and his friends are fantastic to brighten the otherwise sad day of little ones, it is the classics that work best to help my older daughter fall asleep. From Little Women to Tom Sawyer, well-written stories enrich their vocabulary and for some reason, the sonority of old tales makes them sleep.
Close your eyes! Don’t talk! Close your eyes!
When it is time to sleep, I become kind of annoying and military, but it works. I discreetly check if her eyes are closed and I make sure that she does not talk. It is highly effective, in fact, as soon as she closes her eyes, I can count 100 breathings, say “good night?” and never get an answer.