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Keeping your sanity during school year


November 14, 2013
Now that the school year is in full swing many parents might find themselves struggling, here are some tips to keep your sanity.

Q. How do I get my kids into a bedtime routine and end the bedtime frustrations?

A. Start by using a “slowdown time.” A slowdown routine is essential. Children’s brains operate at a high frequency and don’t shut down as quickly as adult brains. Parents should announce the beginning of slowdown time about 40 minutes before bedroom time.

Next give your children choices. There is magic in choices and this makes your children feel like they have some control in their own lives. Give as many choices as you can, as long as either option is OK.

Examples might include:

“Do you want to go to your room right now or in 10 minutes?”

“Do you want to brush your teeth in the kitchen or the bathroom?”

“Do you want to get tucked in or do it yourself?”

“Do you want the lights on or off?”

“Do you want to go to sleep now or try to keep your eyes open as long as you can?”

Children are given no more than 10 seconds to make their decisions. If it takes longer, make the decision for them.

Lastly, rename “bedtime” to “bedroom time.” It’s time for them to be in their rooms, but not necessarily with their eyes closed. It creates a power struggle when we say “go to sleep right now.”

We cannot make anyone go to sleep; what we can control is noise and location. Kids have to be in their rooms by such and such time. What they do in there is their choice, as long as it doesn’t create a problem for anyone else. Remind them what time they will be waking in the morning and wish them luck on getting up.

Q. How do I stop the battles over homework?

A. First remember this is their work, help only when your child really wants it. There is nothing that creates more battles than parents who “help” when help is not wanted. Try asking:

“Would you like some ideas on that, or would you like me to leave you alone?”

Next, spend most of your time noticing what they do well. Do not focus on what your child does wrong. Lastly, help only as long as your child is doing most of the work. There is nothing more destructive than stealing the struggle of learning by doing too much for your child.

Give these “love and logic” tips a try, and join thousands of parents who have much happier, more responsible kids.

Kaiser is an independent facilitator of the Love and Logic Approach to raising children. She can be reached at Lynsau@hotmail.com.

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