[sleepsense.net] Toddlers Testing the Waters
From the day they understand the concept of “rules,” toddlers are perpetually checking to see what is and isn’t allowed in regards to their behavior. In today’s video, I’ll give you some tips for enforcing the boundaries with a minimal amount of fussing and struggle.
Huh, she sort of thought this one might be okay, so she gave her a bottle at bedtime. A week later, this 15-month-old is now waking up in the middle of the night asking for a bottle. And so we were just talking through some strategies on how to fix that. And she said to me, “Is this normal?” And I said, absolutely.
So I want to give you a few tips here today to deal with toddlers testing the waters. You could’ve had six glorious months of sleeping through, bedtime’s no problem, and then seemingly out of the blue your clever little toddler starts asking for extras. That’s a good sign that she is testing the waters. And they can be really small.
The bottle one, that’s not so small, but they can be really small like, can I have a cracker? Can I have an extra drink of water? Can I have an extra cuddle? These are all little tiny test points. If you give in to one, there will be another one, I promise you that. If you give in to that one, there’ll be another one, and so on, and so on, and so on until you don’t know how you got here but it’s a crazy town scenario.
And that’s why I think toddlers are so darn clever, is that they tend to test boundaries in little subtle ways that in your mind you think, ah, what’s the big deal, I’ll give her another cuddle, right? But she sees that as the door open a crack. I’ll push it a little more, I’ll push it a little more, I’ll push it a little more.
So here’s some advice. When your toddler starts testing boundaries about bedtime, don’t give in to any of them. It doesn’t matter how tiny or insignificant they seem, just remember there’ll be more after that. It’s gotta be no, it’s gotta be black and white, it’s gotta be the same thing every night.
She might push, she might cry, put up a little fuss about it, but the faster she sees that your rules don’t change, especially around bedtime, the faster this blows over and the less frequent it shows up.
It will still periodically rear its little head, but if you handle it in that way, they blow over relatively fast and then you’re back to good news.
Now, going back to the scenario I was talking about earlier, if you have gotten yourself into a situation where you’re giving your baby a bottle in the middle of the night again or you’re doing lots of extra cuddles or bedtime has become a bit of a battle, the good news is that you can get her back on the right road. You just need to firm up your boundaries, you need to start saying no.
In that case, no bottles, in fact let’s just throw all the bottles away because a 15-month-old doesn’t need any bottles so off they go. You’re gonna have to put up with a few nights of pushback from her absolutely because last time you gave it to me right, it worked in the past, so she’s going to definitely kick up some fuss about this.
It’ll just be a few nights to get her back onto that right road again though. And then she’ll realize, okay, I remember this. These are the rules, they’re back, and she’ll get back to sleeping well and going down bottle-free.
Thanks so much for watching today. Sleep well.
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