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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Toddler Tricks - 23

Ways to Trick your Baby:

Problem:  It's 10 p.m.  Your kids are playing in their room -- giggling, jumping around, squealing, the whole bit.  They're happy, at least, but they really need to get to sleep.  No matter how many times you settle them back down, they're up again within minutes, running around and playing make-believe games.

Solution:  Surprise them.  Settle them down, close the door, and make as if you walked away, but stay right outside the door.  The moment you hear a rustle, bust back in there and remind them that it's time for bed.  Repeat this.  Sometimes let them rustle for a few seconds before busting in.  You shouldn't have to do this for more than 10 minutes, in my experience.

Ways your Baby Can Trick You:

Problem:  They incorporate your smooth ninja style into their game, and now it's a million times more interesting because a grown up is involved.  At this point, continuing on is useless.  You have to calm them down because they won't be able to do it themselves. 

Solution: I have a pillow in the middle of the room, and I'll lay down, let the babies know I'm there -- not for playing or laughing, but for sleeping.  They are usually grateful for my presence and settle down, occasionally trying to talk to me or request something.  The most important part of this solution is that you must leave while they are still awake.  I have made the mistake of staying in there until both have nodded off, and that sets up a precendent that can keep you prisoner in the nursery for hours each night.  Once your kids are calm and sleep is most likely going to overtake them (it's a tricky timing game) retuck them in and kiss them goodnight, making it clear that you are leaving but you will be back.  Make as if it's the first time you tucked them in for the night.  With any luck, you'll be hearing nothing but silence from that room after you leave it.

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