Make putting pajamas on a game.
You may swear that your child is purposely trying to see if your head will explode with all the defiant behavior, but this is typical of many young children. He’s just trying to test his boundaries and explore his independence. If your evenings have turned into a hide-and-seek battle with a half-naked child, you’re not alone in the world. Try some colorful and silly approaches to working with this stage of development, instead of seeing if your head really does burst.
1Take your child shopping and have him pick out two sets of pajamas. Add some matching slippers, if you feel so inclined. So when bedtime comes, you’re offering him options instead of a demand. Let him pick this one or that, instead of yes or no. Since he picked the jammies, he’s more likely to want to wear them.
2Be silly and try to put the pajamas on your body instead of his. When he laughs and says, “Mommy, those are mine,” you can respond with a puzzled look and tell him, “They’re mine, they just shrunk.” He will want to wear them after someone else wants to wear them.
3Let his desire for defiance and independence work with you instead of against you. Pretend that you don’t want him to put them on. With a mock stern voice, state “I never want you to wear those jammies again.” He’ll giggle and most likely bolt to put them on. Keep telling him “No, you’re not supposed to wear those!” Gotta love reverse psychology.
4Make it a race. When it’s time to put the pajamas on, say “Ready, set, go!” Both of you race to get to the pajamas and put them on the fastest. You may even catch him trying to cheat and put them on before you say “Go.”
5Get on his bed with his favorite book and your pajamas on. Pretend to read the book. If he tries to get into bed without changing his clothes, tell him that only people wearing pajamas get to read the story. Once he’s changed, read the book out loud. Now you’ve not only got him in his pajamas, you’ve also got him in bed and hopefully ready to drift off to sleep.
6Pull out the star stickers and a sticker chart. Hang the chart at his eye level and tell him that he can get a sticker every night that he puts his pajamas on when it’s time. Once he gets five stickers, offer a reward. Make the reward something that means something to him. Let him know what the reward is in advance, so he keeps his eyes on the prize and stays motivated. Pay up when he reaches his goal and start again.
- Keep trying different tactics if one doesn’t seem to work.Be consistent with nighttime activities as much as you can. Keep a regular bedtime routine, such as dinner, bath, put pajamas on, read a book and lights out.
Things You'll Need
- 2 sets of pajamas
- Slippers (optional)
- Star stickers
- Sticker chart