1. Establish a specific bedtime (e.g. 8:00 p.m. on school nights, 10:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights). These bedtimes should be consistent. All children in the home should have consistent bedtimes.
  2. Set up a “bedtime routine” and go through it with your child so they know what to expect. For example: 7:00 p.m. – watch TV/listen to quiet music 7:15 p.m. – take a bath/brush teeth/ dress for bed 7:45 p.m. – listen to a story read by a parent 8:00 p.m. – lights off The same routine should be followed every night.
  3. Make “bedtime” a special, positive time for you and your child. Arrange your schedule so you can spend 15 to 20 minutes reading or talking about the day’s events or plan for the following day before going to bed.
  4. Reward your child for going to bed on time. Possible rewards include verbal praise (e.g. “I am so proud of you for not arguing with me and getting to bed on time!”), a kiss on the cheek, a hug, having a friend over to play the next day, staying up late on the weekend, watching a favorite TV show, playing a game with a parent).
  5. Write a contract with your child. For example: ‘I, Samantha, will go to bed at 8:00 p.m. for five nights in a row. When I accomplish this, I can stay up late on Saturday night.’ The contract should be written at the child’s level of understanding and should focus on only ONE behavior at a time.
  6. Make certain your child is aware of the consequences that will occur for not going to bed on time (e.g. loss of privileges, earlier bed time).
  7. Encourage your child to go to their room and read a book until they fall asleep.
  8. Let your child keep a night light on or have the door cracked if they need the security.
  9. Do not let your child start watching a movie or TV show that will not be over before their bedtime. Offer to tape it.
  10. Make certain your child gets up in the morning at a regular time.
TIP: If there are fun activities going on, who wants to go to bed?