Bedtime can be unnerving for parents, especially when there are uncooperative children and/or fussy babies added to the mix. Here are a couple of small changes to our bedtime routine that have made a huge difference, especially with our two-and-a-half year old:
1) Bath-time: Maria loves her bath and was having a very hard time getting out when it was time to dry off - crying and flailing of limbs were commonplace, and I was getting desperate. Not only is this annoying, but it is extremely dangerous to have a slippery toddler throwing a tantrum in the bathtub. I decided to use a kitchen timer to mark the end of bath-time, and for the past few days we have had no trouble leaving the bath. Wow! Perhaps the novelty will wear off in a few days, but I hope not! Somehow, having the timer "tell" Maria that bath-time is over (as opposed to mommy) has made a huge difference.
2) Brushing teeth: Our toddler was also hesitant to let me help her with brushing teeth, so I decided to try something silly as a distraction. I tell her that the "sugar monsters" are trying to eat her teeth, or the "chocolate soldiers" are setting up camp in her mouth, etc., and then we try to brush them away. Again, since we've started this she is happy to let me brush!
3) Bedtime: Maria was always asking for "one more story," as all children do, and was getting very upset when it was time to climb into bed. Now, before I read the last story, I have her repeat the words "This is Maria's last story, no more stories after this one," and usually it seems to do the trick. Not always, but usually.
Hope these small tricks can help some of you out there! And if you have any pointers to share with us, please do so in the comments - we can all use all the help we can get when it comes to sending the little ones off to dreamland :)