Putting Your Toddler's Bedtime Demands on Hold
If your toddler runs over your rules like a steamroller, try this little technique (another twist on patience-stretching) to put their unreasonable demands ‘on hold.’
First, spend a week practicing patience-stretching 5 times a day and using white noise for all sleep. Once your child gets used to all this, you are ready to put their unreasonable demands ‘on-hold.’
Here is how.
When your sleepy child toddles up to the night gate in her pyjamas and pleads for water, come immediately and say, ‘Okay, sweetheart, Mum is here, Mum is here.’ Listen to their request and say ‘Sure, honey, sure.’ But then raise one finger (as if you just remembered something important) and exclaim, ‘Wait! Wait! I forgot something! I will be back...really fast!’ And tell them to cuddle her lovey until you come back. (They will be familiar with all this from their experiences with patience-stretching during the day.)
Hurry out of view for 5 seconds. Then, return and innocently ask, ‘Honey, I am so sorry I forgot––what do you want?’ Or say, ‘Oh darn! Silly Mum! I forgot the water! I am sorry, honey. I will be back in just a second!’ Then leave for 10 seconds, but this time actually get it for them.
The next time they summon you, do the ‘Wait! Wait!’ routine again––but this time, disappear for 15 seconds. When you return, ask what they want, but then do the routine again, and return 30 seconds later with the water. Over a few days, you can build the waiting period up to 1 and then 2 minutes. Eventually, your toddler will discover that asking for things has turned into a pretty boring, no-fun game.
(Your little child may get tired and fall asleep on the floor while they are waiting for your return. So, leave a pillow and blanket on the floor by the door gate in case they choose to fall asleep there instead of in the cot.)
If your child gets impatient and starts yelling, wait 5 seconds, then return and acknowledge their frustration (in your best Toddler-ese). Then repeat your ‘Wait! Wait!’ routine and disappear for another 15 seconds.
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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider. Breastmilk is the best source of nutrition for babies. It is important that, in preparation for and during breastfeeding, mothers eat a healthy, balanced diet. Combined breast- and bottle-feeding in the first weeks of life may reduce the supply of a mother's breastmilk and reversing the decision not to breastfeed is difficult. If you do decide to use infant formula, you should follow instructions carefully.