The following guidelines are just that… guidelines.  You are the parent and so you are the one that will need to put these steps into action.

These steps have lots of background behind them.  If you are interested in more detailed explanations or if you have questions or concerns, contact me and we can go over it.

These steps can apply to most any age if applied realistically;


Instead of barking “It is time for bed!” and grabbing them away from what they are doing, tell them something like, “In 10 minutes you are going to get a bath, and then a story and then bed...”  Watch your clock so that you keep to your word on the “10 minutes promise”.


In exactly 10 minutes, approach the child and say “Okay, it has been 10 minutes.  Get upstairs for your bath”.

Now is the hard part.  If you are met with resistance, do not engage in lengthy explanations or discussions.  Do not repeat your instructions and keep repeating, getting louder each time.  Simply get the child to execute your command by physically lifting him/her and bringing them to the room to get ready for the bath.  They may protest but soon they will get the idea that you won’t back down just because they display some wild emotion.

Don’t be mean but put across an attitude that shows that you are making them do what you said was going to happen.  If you do this enough in their life, they will get the idea that complaining doesn’t do any good and they will start complying on their own.


The best approach to this period of time before bed is not to get them over-stimulated by playing rough, tickling, certain foods (sugar) etc.  Keep things calm and enjoyable.  Let them take their bath quietly playing with their toys while you get them cleaned up.


After getting them dressed, one parent should be in charge of reading or telling a calm story and putting them down for sleep.  Close the door so outside influences don’t distract the child from the calmness of his story.

Make sure that if anyone else needs to say goodnight to the child, it is done before the story is started.  Too many times, the child is relaxed and ready for bed and someone barges into the room shrieking “I need a goodnight kiss” or some such and now the child is again stimulated and all awake.  Upsets are more likely to occur.

Lower the lights, and calmly read or tell the story in a calm, soothing voice.


Now, with your child in the crib or bed, kiss ’em goodnight and leave the room.  If the child cries, wait around 10 minutes, quietly enter the room, walk up, put your hand on them and say something like; “It’s okay.  I am here.  Go to sleep now.”  And then leave the room.

Do not pick the child up or engage in conversations about needing sleep or how much you love them etc.  Just let them know you are still around and leave the room.

If they are still crying, extend the time a bit and repeat.  Doing this procedure, eventually, the child will fall asleep.

If they leave the bed and come out into the hall, immediately put them back into their bed and shut the door.  Don’t say much except “Stay in your bed and go to sleep”.  You may have to repeat this a few times but soon, they will wear out and go to sleep.


Children love predictability.  Despite any upset they display, they are relieved that there is a parent there that is in control and is looking out for what is best for them.  They do not have the ability to see consequences much and so are relying on the parent to do what is right for their survival.

Good, positive control without being mean or emotional will give your child stability and he/she will eventually settle into a routine and almost put themselves to bed on their own.

It may take several evenings of the above steps but eventually, you will have a much easier time of getting your kids to sleep so that they can get the rest they need.

(Let alone, giving you and your spouse your “life back” in the evenings.)

A couple last tips;

1. Watch the sugar snacks or sugary drinks before bed.

2. Start the “going to bed process” earlier rather than later. If your child gets overly tired, it will be much harder to get them to sleep.

3. Keep your talking to a minimum and keep it calm so that your child can relax.

Good luck and let me know how it goes!