If bedtime routine invites trouble, shorten it

“My general rule of thumb for bedtime routines is less than five minutes,” writes family psychologist John Rosemond. “Any more than that and you’re looking for trouble.” Dreamstime/TNS

Q: We have a 3.5-year-old daughter and each night we have a routine we go through with her — bath, pajamas, brush, choose two books and read them, sing a couple of songs and pray before lights out.

Bedtime typically falls between 7:30 and 8 p.m. each night and she sleeps soundly for about 11-12 hours. We try to go through the routine calmly but most evenings, she finds some way to deviate from it. Almost every evening, she ends up having a screaming meltdown because we’ve told her the next step, given her time to respond, and she procrastinates in a big way. We’ve tried skipping books and songs as a consequence, to no avail.

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