Q: How do I set limits for my 3 yr old daughter? She sleeps late and I don’t like it.
A: Setup a bedtime and bedtime routine
The first thing you need to do, is decide on what her bedtime will be (i.e. what time you want her to go to bed) and what you want her bedtime routine to be. Then introduce it and ensure that once you start it, you follow through on it.
She may resist the change initially but you would have to be CONSISTENT with it and do all you can to ensure that you stick to the new routine as best as possible. As time goes on, she would get used to it.
Tips for a successful bedtime routine
1. Make sure her bedtime is the same time every night and ensure you keep the bedtime environment (e.g. light, temperature) the same all night long.
2. Consider what you want to include in her bedtime routine. For eg you could choose to include a bath, putting on pyjamas, reading a story, having a cuddle, playing a quiet game etc.. Whatever you decide to choose, make sure it’s something that would help calm her down not gee her up. The game can be as simple as taking turns saying the alphabet or counting to 10 but try not to add too many things to her bedtime routine so it doesn’t end up like a game or a chore!
3. When you’re ready to tuck her in, have one last cuddle, and say goodnight.
4. Encourage her to fall asleep on her own and ensure that she sleeps in her own bed. Avoid holding, cuddling or lying in with her.
What if she cries when I leave the room?
At the beginning she may cry when you leave the room or get out of bed. What you should do at such times, is to lead her back to her bed quietly.
Tell her it’s time for sleep, and that she is not allowed to come out of bed till morning. If she continues to get up, simply keep bringing her back to bed – immediately.
She might cry. She might beg, or even try to bargain with you. Do not give in, soon she’ll fall sleep, and after a while, it would get easier for you.
Don’t forget that the key thing is – You must be consistent and you must stay true to your word.
Best of Luck!