'Sleep Manners' Sticker Charts
If your toddler or preschooler is still having trouble sleeping, don't despair! Sleep habits can be changed, even in kids as old as five. The trick is to get your kid on board with the changes you want him to make. A great way to do this is to create a "Sleep Manners Sticker Chart" to reward your kid if he accomplishes his sleep goals.
Here are some tips:
- Choose three to four "sleep manners" that best apply to your kid. Sample sleep manners are: stay in your bed all night long, sleep until 6am, put yourself to sleep without Mommy or Daddy lying down with you, cooperate at bedtime, put yourself back to sleep during the night without calling out etc.
- Give your kid a sticker in the morning if he accomplishes his sleep manners.
- Younger toddlers will be happy to wear the sticker so they can show it off all day.
- For older kids, use a more complex reward system: a chart with squares for each night of a week, for example, that he can decorate and use to show off his track record. Some parents give an assortment of stickers daily but save a "special" one as a big reward at the end of a good week. To make a weekly chart, turn the paper horizontally, put the days of the week along the top, and the manners down the left, or short, side.
- Let your kid pick out the stickers at the store to get him involved. Have older kids help you make the chart.
- Give the chart some good focused attention at bedtime and explain how it works.
- In the morning, give out the rewards promptly, not just the stickers themselves but praise and hugs, which mean even more to your kid than those cherished stickers!
- Try not to make him feel that he is bad if he failed! Just tell him that he can try again that night and that you know he can do it.
Kim West, a.k.a. The Sleep Lady