Be honest. How many time does your toddler or preschooler ask you for something at bedtime or after lights out? Five? Ten? Have you stopped counting? Try a bedtime pass.
This is simply a card, picture, or object that serves as a “coupon” for that one last hug, glass of water, snuggle, answer to a question about the day, or whatever else (within reason) your little one might be asking for to stall at bedtime. The easiest thing to do is to give your little one a few index cards at bedtime (one to three, but depends on how many times she’s asking for things). You can decorate the index cards any way you want or simply glue pictures to them. If your little one needs something more concrete than a card, use something like a not-so-exciting block or figurine. Let your little one know that she can use the cards after lights out for those last requests. When your little one exchanges a card, you can give that one last hug or small glass of water. If she does not have any more cards, then give a consistent response such as “It’s bedtime, goodnight.” Or, “You don’t have a pass, I love you, goodnight.” For many little ones, simply having the cards helps reduce the number of times they ask for things. For other little ones, putting a small reward in the mix also helps. So, if she keeps the cards until morning she can exchange them for a small reward. Rewards can really vary, just make sure it’s something your little one likes and doesn’t get all of the time, such as a small healthy and tasty snack, sticker, time doing a favorite activity, or a few minutes of playtime with a favorite toy or game that she is only allowed to play with when she has coupons in the morning.