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One of the twins is not a very good sleeper. She wakes up at the crack of dawn, regardless of how early she went to bed. She frequently gets up in the middle of the night wanting to join Mommy and Daddy in their bed-which would be fine with me, if she actually planned to do any sleeping while she was there. But of course it’s waaaaaaaayyyyy more fun to toss and turn, throw the cover off, need the covers back on again, ask Mommy questions, request kisses, demand bananas (I swear she’s part monkey!), and throw a fit when she’s told she can’t go play with her sister. I’ve been keeping track, and it’s at least two nights a week that she keeps Mommy and Daddy up with her nighttime fussiness. That’s why I came up with this bedtime reward chart, and I’m sharing it with my lovely readers because I know that many other families are going through similar struggles.
For the most successful implementation of a reward chart system, you may want to keep in mind a few things:
- Let your child choose the reward. Try to stay away from rewarding with food and sugary snacks. If she needs prompting, give your child a few ideas. Consider a free reward like playing a game with Mommy, family movie night where she gets to pick the movie or TV show, or going on an outing together. For many children, time with you is what they really want. My 3-year-old loves putting the stickers on her chart, so that in itself is a reward. 🙂
- Start small and be realistic. This chart has a lot of empty boxes, but a child shouldn’t have to fill the whole chart or even a whole row to get a reward. If your child is getting out of bed every single night, then maybe set a goal of 2 or 3 nights (not necessarily consecutively) of being a “Super Sleeper”. After meeting that goal a few times, increase the number of Super Sleeper nights to get the next reward. Once your child gets the first reward, she will be motivated to earn more!
- Don’t punish. Positive rewards are more effective than consequences. When your child isn’t a Super Sleeper, remind her of the reward she is working towards and encourage her to keep trying.
- Set clear expectations, and keep them minimal. Your child has to feel like this is something she can do, so you don’t want to overload her with rules. Our restless sleeper only has to remember to do 2 things. She gets to put a sticker on her Super Sleeper reward chart when she
- stays in her bed all night
- doesn’t throw a tantrum about having to sleep in her bed
If your child is also getting out of bed frequently, you may want something like the “Ok to Wake Nightlight”. It glows like a night light all night, then glows green at “morning time” when it is ok to get out of bed.
To download this printable bedtime reward chart, simply click the link below or right-click the image and save to your computer. The image was designed to fit standard letter ( 8.5″ by 11″) sized paper.
Our little restless sleeper is doing better already. At 5 a.m. this morning I heard the soft creak of her door as it opened. I listened as she peeked into the dark hallway outside her room and scrambled back into her big girl bed. I practically held my breath waiting for her to come into my room but she went back to sleep until daylight. Hallelujah! 🙂