Reduce Curtain Calls With These 5 Great Sleep Techniques
Just when you think you have successfully put your toddler to bed and are settling in to watch your favourite show, you hear the pitter-patter of little feet then a quiet voice saying “I need another hug and a kiss.” So you tuck your child back in bed, give her or her a hug and a kiss and say goodnight, and as you’re leaving the room you hear “I forgot to tell you something.” This delaying tactic continues on until Patient Mom becomes Cranky Mom and everyone is upset. Before this happens in your house, follow these 5 simple sleep technique tips to ensure toddler sleep training and avoid your child’s repeat bedtime requests or “curtain calls”.
This delaying tactic continues on until Patient Mom becomes Cranky Mom and everyone is upset.
1. Set a Timer
At the beginning of your bedtime routine, have your child set a timer for 15 minutes. Explain to him or her that once the timer goes off, it’s time to say goodnight and go to sleep. You can also use a digital clock to show your child that it’s bedtime and say something like, “Look, the clock says it’s bedtime, so it’s time to say one last goodnight.” This tactic shifts the blame to the clock, making it easier for your child to accept it. Your child can’t negotiate with a clock!
By anticipating the requests, you will be able to reasonably ignore the curtain calls.
2. Anticipate Any Requests
Before the timer goes off or before it’s time for lights out, anticipate what your child may ask for and include it in the routine before it’s time to say goodnight. If your child usually asks for a drink, put some water beside the bed. If he needs to go to the bathroom, make sure they to go before you tuck him in. Give her plenty of hugs and make sure you ask her if she would like to tell you anything else before you go. By anticipating the requests, you will be able to reasonably ignore the curtain calls.
3. Use a Lovey
One reason why children use curtain calls as a stalling tactic is due to separation anxiety. To remedy this, introduce a lovey or a transitional object if your child doesn’t already have one. Their lovey could be a stuffed toy or a blanket and it will help him or her feel safe when you can’t be there. A lovey can help children with trouble staying asleep as well.
4. Consistent Reaction
It’s important not to let your child run the show at bedtime. Remember that you are in charge, and if you are inconsistent with your reaction to the bedtime behavior, your child will take full advantage. If you say “this is the last time” make sure it is indeed the last time because he or she will learn to negotiate if you don’t follow through. Decide how many times you will respond to their curtain calls and make sure you are consistent every night.
The lovey could be a stuffed toy or a blanket and it will help him or her feel safe when you can’t be there
5. Sleep Rules
If your child is still requesting extra bedtime attention, implement some sleep rules to help your child learn what is expected at bedtime. Praise him or her when they follow their sleep rules, and follow through on some consequences when they don’t. The last thing you want is an overtired child who has difficulty falling asleep because of a delayed bedtime with curtain calls night after night.
Jenn Kelner is a mother of three children, including twins, and a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant at BabyZzz. Just as every family is unique, Jenn supports many different sleep methods and works directly with families to design a solution that will help them become well-rested, happy families.