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Bedtime Tokens

True Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad

Bedtime Tokens
September 2013

Every night I whisper three words in my son's ear as I tuck him in, "Go to sleep."

He's not an easy one to put to bed. My wife and I tried a few different methods to keep him in his room at bedtime, but nothing seemed to work. Initially, we tried a reward chart, where the family would get ice cream after three good bedtimes. It worked great...once. Out of half-desperation and half-brilliance my wife came up with the idea of bedtime tokens.

Here are the rules:

Every night he and his sister are each given two tokens (felt coasters).

Each token can be redeemed for computer time the next day.

If he came out of his room once, he lost one token.

If he came out twice, no computer time the next day.

Here's how it's going so far:

Night one: Everything went according to plan. The kids stayed in their rooms and were happy to redeem their tokens the next morning.

Night two: My son lost his first token when he came out of his room. He brought it to me wrapped up in a pair of his underwear. His second token was taken from him when he came out wearing rain boots. He was testing the boundaries of this new system.

Ever since the second night however, our system has worked great. We've been doing this for over a month now and even modified it for vacation, where kids could use iPhones to play games. It has worked like a dream! Other than the second night we tried this, I think our kids have probably only lost a total of two or three tokens. They are finally getting enough sleep and the bedtime battle is a thing of the past...at least for the time being.

Now, at bedtime the three words I whisper to my son have changed from "Go to sleep" to "I love you" – and we all couldn't be happier.

Happy Parenting!


Tags: In This Issue, Parenting, Toddler

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