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Exit Stage Right: Getting A Handle On The “Curtain Call” Syndrome

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

Not too long ago I was babysitting for a couple we know only to find that while their little girl was easy enough to put down for the night, the young man was going to be a challente. Overtired and possibly understimulated just when I though my “work” for the evening was over, well, except for waiting for his parents to come home, I found that I had to get up another dozen or so times to deal with “him” getting up and out of bed a dozen or so times.

And, this, according to experts is quite common. In fact, this behaviour, commonly known as “curtain call”, can be a partial result of parents favouring the new toddler bed in lieu of traditional cribs, allowing young kids to get up and mover around without any hindering restrictions.

And, they suggest curbing curtain call before it begins or gets out of hand by keeping the crib longer. In fact, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should stay in their crib until they are 35 inches tall.

They also suggest cutting back on distractions including lighting and noise. Turning on a soft light, radio station, or video may seem like a good idea, but in fact, it’s more likely to entice your child to stay up or get up rather than go to sleep.

In addition, teach kids about learning to fall asleep on their own, without any intervention of your part. Unless the child is really thirsty, meeting demands for food, water, or coming over to your bed, simply perpetuates the problem and the improper behaviour. Instead teach kids about hugging a stuffed animal, or simply closing their eyes and counting sheep.

Keep in mind that for many kids, attention of any kind, even “negative” attention is favourable. So, don’t over-react, in fact, you’re better off not reacting at all, and simply and calmly saying nothing when you hear your child walking around, or firmly but without too much rage or emotion, taking your child back to bed.

Experts suggest taking note of your child’s sleep patterns as well. Frequent “curtain calls” could be signaling too much nap time or not enough physical or mental stimulation during the day, leaving your child wipe awake and wound up at bedtime. Try shifting your child’s daily routine, and/or, altering his or her bedtime.

Last but not least make sure your set aside enough bonding time so that your child doesn’t make excuses to get out of bed just to spend more time with you. And, if you’re super busy, make sure you take time to set asked at least ten minutes of quality time with each kid, on a daily bases, to help encourage your child, and give him or her the undivided attention he or she may crave and need.

Long Island Family Life & Parenting Articles > Exit Stage Right: Getting A Handle On The “Curtain Call” Syndrome

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