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How do I get my kids to go to sleep?

September 3rd, 2008 / 9 Comments

Are you fighting and arguing with your kids to go to sleep at bedtime?

When we took our puppy to Puppy Obedience School, all us new dog owners had the same questions:

How can I get my puppy to behave? How do I get my puppy not to chew? How can I make him stop digging up the yard?

The trainer’s advice has been invaluable to me in raising children: A tired puppy is a good puppy!

I don’t mean tired and grumpy when we take them out to run errands. I mean tired when they’ve spent their energy and drop dead to sleep at night for 10 hours straight.

Like puppies, children have a lot more energy than we can keep up with. The extra energy pent up is bound to result in some misbehavior. Do you seriously believe a little boy can sit nicely and read a book, then quietly go to sleep? Just because the clock says he should be tired certainly does not mean he is.

A tired kid is a good kid when it’s bedtime.

Here are some ways to get your kids nice and tired for bedtime:

1. Don’t sit around and watch TV after dinner.

2. Make sure the time for bed is realistic. Don’t expect all kids to need the same amount of sleep. For example, evaluate if the 8:00pm bedtime is realistic if your kids wake up at 9am.

3. If weather permits, go outside after dinner – take a walk, ride your bikes, or go to the local park. It makes for great family time. Indoor activities can include games like Twister, hulahoop, or Simon Says. The key is to keep them moving.

4. If you have a dog, after dinner is the perfect time to kill two birds with one stone and play with the dog. Run around, chase the ball, jump for the frisbee in the backyard – the kid will sleep and the dog won’t dig holes.

5. If you don’t have a dog, just you and the kid chase the ball and jump for frisbees in the backyard!

6. Make sure you schedule your activities throughout the day accordingly so that the children are not so tired in the late afternoon, and end up taking a late nap. If they do, then there’s no way you can enforce the same early bedtime.

What other ideas do you have to get your kids to go to sleep without a big fight?


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  1. You are right on the money – on ALL points!

    We just started a new bedtime routine so that at 8:25pm, I give them a 5 minute warning. Then they drink their milk, brush teeth and shower. Hubz and I take turns reading for 20 minutes to the 2 younger ones, then they read on their own for 20 mins.

    Lights out at 9:30pm – and we finally have some quiet time before midnight. Hurray!1

  2. Quiet time before midnight sounds pretty good! Good job, MammaDawg!

  3. I’m visiting all new 9 rules members today and leaving a congratulations comment. I like the theme your using, really matches the content.

    Happy thoughts,


  4. Thank you, Simon! I’m excited to be a part of the community.

  5. […] I said in the previous post, a tired kid is a good kid! Many discipline issues of young children, especially boys, are merely […]

  6. My son is only 2 years old, but this is great advise, thanks so much for sharing.

  7. I find routine helps.

    This is great and useful advice, Katy.

  8. Hai Katty! Thanks, this helped me a lot!. You have a lot of good material in your article.
    With your permission, can I republish this post in my blog?
    Thanks again.

  9. […] some ways to get your kids nice and tired for bedtime. This post originally written by by Katy Lee from Adventures In Parenting . Hopefully it […]


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