At one point or another, all of my kids loved “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond. If you’re not familiar with the book, it’s often described as a “circular tale” where a boy gives a mouse a cookie, only for the mouse to request more and more until, finally, he would like to have a cookie again.
It’s little wonder toddlers love the book! Cute illustrations and a fun storyline aside, I frequently tell parents that toddlers live life by the rule of “Plus One.” If they can get away with something today, what else can they get away next?
I mean, can you blame them? Adults do it too!
If Numeroff and Bond were to write the book If You Tell a Toddler It’s Bedtime, chances are it would be replete with a whole lot of tantrums and stall tactics. The book could literally go on for hours!
In that vain, if you’re experiencing bedtime battles with your toddler chances are you’re making a lot of concessions and sending quite a few mixed messages about your expectations and how likely you are to stick to those expectations. When you send mixed messages, your child is more likely to push the boundaries and test your resolve. If I can get away with this tonight, there’s no reason to believe I can’t get away with more tomorrow!
But like I said, we all fall prey to inconsistencies, so no judgment here! The good news: it’s a very fixable problem.
Taking a hard look at what’s broken is never easy. Our instinct often tells us, “This is going to take a lot of work and it definitely won’t be easy, but there must be a solution.” And yes, there most definitely is a solution for bedtime battles. And yes, it does take a good bit of dedicated work and consistency.
At Sleep Pea, the focus is always on setting your child up for success. That, in turn, gives you license to have high expectations because with the right tools your child can achieve SO much. Sleep is no exception! In fact, it’s the least of all exceptions because we are so incredibly well designed to sleep – we just need to stop ignoring those very important cues and signals our bodies give us when it’s time to get some rest.
Because the story really can be: If you tell a toddler it’s bedtime, they will say “OK!” and do a great job falling asleep at the right time, sleep soundly through the night and wake up refreshed and ready to do it all over again the next day. Imagine that!!