Consistency in your action is the key in training a young child for many reasons. It is useful at any age. It says to them, if you do this, you'll get that. I believe the result of positive bedtime habits can be beneficial to the whole family. Once children learn what your expectations are, feel comfortable and secure, they will go right to bed, and sleep through the night, with rare exception.
At grandma's house every "positive" action is acknowledged. Who doesn't respond to a kind word, hug or a special treat? Each grandchild will have his own likes. So, how are your listening skills? Listening skills get better when someone is tugging on your heart.
Some books tell you--in bedtime training, that you should use consistency at bed time. Close the light and door--just leave. One doctor told me many years ago, once a child learns that it's bed time, even if he screams, do not attend to it, and eventually he'll learn the routine. It's Not always that simple.
Grandmother's have their own routine...Observation. Once in bed, if the child is looking all around, he or she is probably "concerned" about being alone. It is not wrong to hold or rock your youngster. Some like to have you sing to them, or even sing with you. There is of couse the night time prayer and reading a book, (sometimes a favorite story they want to hear several times). Taking a little time upfront has its reward later on. Conversation about the fun things that you've done during the day or the anticipation of tomorrow's expectations, like going to see the trains for an example, will set their little mind on something positive.
Once I have placed the little one in bed with their do-do blanket, binki, and stuffed toys, there is a small conversation which includes stuffed animals like teddy bear. The conversation goes something like "teddy bear" you be nice and quiet now because (name) is tired and wants to go night-night. Sometimes, the stuffed animals will say to me "shhh grandma, we're tired now so be quiet so we can go to sleep." I will always ask, do you need the light on? Or do you want to keep the door open or closed? We want our little ones to be comfortable. Are they to hot or cold? Maybe the fan in the window will be a distraction if they are not used to the sound. Perhaps, it is your heating system, or a shade that needs to be pulled. Avoid all loud unexpected noises. Usually before bed, I start dimming the lights, setting a calming and quieting atmosphere. These are the habits that say--bedtime and they get it, eventually.
It isn't always true that you need to exit the room immediately. Sometimes, I'll sit in a nearby chair reading. I notice the little eyes that look up several times to see if I'm still there before closing for dreamland. (I always tell them where I'll be should they need me, or I'll say, "grandma is soooo tired and I'm going night-night too"). A snack is given well before bedtime and a clean, tired secure child is usually eager to sleep, sleeping through the night, except for the occasional binki drop or nightmare.
Grandma's can sometimes forget...but children don't. Several weeks ago, while at my little grandson's house, as I was ready to leave, the two-year-old asked my where his quarters were. So cute! He has learned by my consistent action that good behaviour is rewarded by a few coins for his savings bank. He doesn't really understand at his age the value of the coin, but he does understand that with it's receipt, he is being rewarded for all the good behavoir during the day, and for all the helpful ways he has worked to earn it. He likes to help. Working is a great way to get children to feel good about themselves. All accomplishments are important to all of us. Everyone has something to offer and we appreciate each other.
The success we have acquired is not so much that we expect them to listen to us, they want to do that, it is because we have learned to "listen to them". Often, it was the silent non-verbal communication that taught us what we try to do best, and that is: "love one another." My father-in-law was a much loved, successful and cherished man. I still can hear him saying to everyone he'd meet, "What do You think?" We all wanted to know what he thought....Think about that for a moment. We all need to become "good listeners" and consistent in our action, if we are to become successful and loving people.
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