Expert Parenting Advice
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When your kids don't want to go to bed

Normally, my husband Matt puts the kids to bed, but tonight he had to go to a last-minute meeting.

Now, Matt has a whole process worked out for getting them ready and into bed.

He actually has the steps written down, and follows this process to the letter each night.

Usually I get a quick run-through of his process when I have to put the kids to bed, but tonight there wasn't enough time.

And it was so frustrating!

The kids just didn't want to listen to me.

First, my daughter didn't want me to brush her teeth. Because "I want my teeth to be really clean, and only dad knows how to get them really clean."

My son just ignored me. I called for him to come to bed, but he just kept playing. That made me angry, which made him ignore me more. I ended up shouting "Then put yourself to bed!" and stomped away.

Lying in bed, I thought about the evening.

Why was it so difficult for me to get the kids to bed? My husband makes it seem so easy, or at least a lot easier than my evening was.

Then I realized the problem, and it was so obvious.

In fact, I realized that it is exactly what Melissa Schwartz talked about in the interview I did with her and her mother a few months ago.

Melissa and Sandi Schwartz are the authors of Authentic Parenting Power, and in our interview I asked them for their best advice to get kids to cooperate.

Melissa said:

Rather than “how to get their kids to listen,” I prefer to think about it as “what helps kids listen” or “what do children need to be able to listen?”

Melissa Schwartz

In the interview Melissa shared one important thing that could have made my evening so much easier if only I thought about it earlier.

Can you guess what it was? Can you guess the one thing that my kids needed tonight in order to listen and cooperate?

In my interview with Melissa and Sandi, they share this important element of getting kids to cooperate. In fact, Melissa says that this not only gets kids to naturally listen because they want to cooperate, but also helps to prevent power struggles because they feel in control.