Dad is supposed to be putting Toddler Zap to bed. But they are laughing and playing very actively when Mom comes in to read a story. Mom isn't too pleased to see this kind of horseplay getting Toddler Zap wound up. Dad quickly gives Toddler Zap a kiss, tucks her in and leaves. Mom starts to read but Toddler Zap is still overexcited. Mom has a hard time settling her down. When she comes out of the bedroom, Dad is sorry and embarrassed, because he knows it was the wrong time for horseplay. Mom realizes that Dad didn't mean any harm, and forgives him.
Horseplay at bedtime isn't a good idea, but it's not the end of the world, either, so no one should overreact. Agree on a bedtime routine that is calming to the child, and is supported and used by all caregivers in the home.
Routines are important for children. The child learns to expect what is going to happen next, and knowing this gives him a feeling of control. Bedtime routines, especially, can make life simpler and more pleasant for everyone. There should be a regular bedtime hour, and the routine should include calming things, like having a bath or reading a book. To help him learn the routine, tell him ahead of time what the next step will be.
Parenting is a tough job, and parents need to support each other.
Food for Thought:
- What happens when your toddler is overexcited at bedtime? How can you help him calm down?
- How do you deal with friends and relatives who get your child too excited just before bed?
- Have you noticed whether things like food are a good or bad thing before bed?
- Do you and your partner forgive each other for making mistakes even though you mean well?