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How to Avoid Fighting at Bedtime

by Sue Hubbard, M.D.

Today, I’m going to continue answering some of the top sleep questions I get from parents.

Today’s question is: How do I get my twins to bed in their bunks with out bickering?

I would sit down and discuss why it is a privilege to share a room and bunk beds with my sister. Make it a reward that they get to share the bunks, rather than a perceived opportunity to “bug” my sister. I would have this discussion way before bedtime, when everyone is already tired and cranky. We have Sunday night Family meetings before dinner where everyone gets to talk about problems, concerns, stuff going on during the week, and I found this a good time to have this kind of discussion about bedtime expectations. I would then have consequences if they bickered and fought and consistently upset bedtime, and would even separate them if need be for a few nights in hopes that they would miss the privilege of sharing the bunks.

At their ages they will respond to positive reinforcement with sticker charts too, to reward getting along etc. You can have “The Congeniality Calendar” and when they fill up the week they get to choose a prize, such as a trip to the library or bookstore to get a new bedtime story, or out for ice cream, or maybe being able to have a friend for a play date and dinner. Parents know “the carrot” that their child will respond to, it needn’t be big!

That’s your daily dose on sleep for today; we’ll talk about it some more tomorrow.

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