Filed under Motherhood Young Children
Q. How do I keep my child from getting out of bed multiple times every evening?
A. I asked my mom about this recently because I needed an answer! I would put my daughter Caly (4 years old) to bed, and for the next two hours or more, she would come out with a myriad of excuses—my favorite being the time she said she had “internal bleeding.” It’s amazing all the things a child can think of when they don’t want to go to sleep!
I was starting to lose my mind; or, to put it biblically, I was having difficulty with the fruit of patience. Instead of my day of training and caring for the kids ending at bedtime, it would drag on late into the evening.
It was also a problem for my babysitters (often my family). There were a number of nights when we came home to find her watching baseball with my dad—way past her bedtime. (But then, it doesn’t take much to convince Pop-Pop to change the rules!)
So as usual, I turned to my mother for help with this little problem, and you know what? She solved it! The “potty block” was born.
After our bedtime routine (the typical, reading, singing, praying) I give her books to read on her own and turn on her favorite music. Then I place one block (like a building block, but you could use whatever you want) at the end of Caly’s bed. This is her “pass” to come out of her room one time to use the bathroom. She brings the block with her and gives it to me or daddy (or babysitter when we are gone).
After potty, we tuck her back in and she is instructed not to get out of bed again. No more block means no more times out of bed. If she obeys, then she gets a sticker on her chart when she wakes up in the morning. (For the chart I just took a blank sheet of paper, drew a bunch of circles on it and hung it on the back of her door. When there are stickers covering all of the circles, she gets a surprise.). I play the sticker/chart thing up really big! But if she comes out of her room again without a block, then there is a specific consequence.
I’m telling you, it’s working! Took about a week of training for it to really stick and now she is doing great. I have started using “potty blocks” for other times during the day such as her rest time and play alone time. And ya know what? We are all happier! She’s happier, Mommy’s happier, and of course this makes Daddy happier! Thanks Mom!