The Evening Struggle
- Give infants sponge baths in a sink or an infant tub. Don’t move your child to a regular-size bathtub until he is much bigger.
- Make bath time part of the evening routine every night. Consistent routines are easier to enforce because your child expects them to happen every evening.
- Create ways to make bath time more fun. Your child may be more wiling to take a bath if she has something to look forward to, such as seeing what it’s like to take a bath with an ice cube or with a plastic toy.
- Even when your child is old enough (and it’s safe enough) to take a bath alone, he may enjoy spending some one-on-one time talking with you as he takes a bath.
- Create consistent routines. You’ll have a much easier time enforcing bedtime routines when your child knows what to expect. For some children, a bedtime routine consists of a bath, brushing teeth and putting on pajamas, snuggling while having a book read aloud to them in bed, and then turning the lights out.
- Some children are more likely to stay in bed if they have a night-light. Do what you can (within reason) to help your child feel secure.
- Decide what to do if your child crawls into your bed. Know that whatever you decide, you’re setting the path for more of the same. (Thus, if you let your child crawl into your bed and sleep with you, it will happen again.)
- Some kids have a hard time going to bed if they know they’re “missing” out on what the adults are doing. Sometimes you may need to turn off all the lights in your home and be quiet for 15 minutes to signal that it’s bedtime. Once your child falls asleep, you can turn them back on.
- Research shows that families who regularly eat together are more likely to be close and to have kids who do better in school and are less likely to get into trouble. Make mealtime a priority for your family. If you can eat one meal together every day, great. If not, try to do so as many times during the week as you can.
- Make mealtime fun. Don’t bring up tough or tense topics. If your kids figure out that mealtimes are when you scold them, they won’t want to eat with the family.
- Set guidelines about eating together. Some kids think that as soon as they’ve raced through a meal, they can go do something else. Instead, say that kids need to stay a certain amount of time. (But don’t make it too long.) Engage them in conversation.
- Get family members to help out with meals. Some may enjoy preparing the meal. Others may enjoy setting or clearing off the table. Some may like to clean up. When kids are involved with the meal, they’re more likely to want to eat with the family.