We have three beautiful children. Moriya is 3 years old. The problem we are having is she doesn't want to go to bed at night. When it's bedtime, she screams and cries and yells sometimes 45 minutes to an hour before she actually falls asleep. Dr. Phil, please tell us how to help Moriya fall asleep.
— Tamika and Rodney
Dr. Phil: First off, the two of you have to work as a unit. You've got to say: We are going to do this together. We are going to both get up at 2:30 a.m. to take her back to bed, if that's what we have to do. We are going to both put her to bed at 8:30 p.m., if that's what we have to do. Then, you've got to make her room inviting. Make it as inviting as you possibly can, and you want a very strong ritual of putting her to bed. A very strong ritual.
And you don't want to go from running around the house and playing tag to going to bed. In the 30 minutes leading up to bedtime, start really winding down. Start getting her physiology calmed down, and then have a ritual where you can talk with her, where you can love on her. You can tell her a story. You can do all different sorts of things that kind of mark that it's time. Make sure she goes to the bathroom right before she goes to bed, whether she says she needs to or not. No toys in the bed other than something that she might hug, but don't make it a wonderland in there with lots of distractions and don't lie down with her. And, listen, you don't want her ever watching more than an hour or two of television a day. Don't do that. And no TV at night, because this gets her brain going. We don't think television gets your brain going, but it does. So, you need a strong ritual. Calm down leading up to it, and be consistent.
When you have this kind of confrontation, don't ever, ever lose. Once you draw the line in the sand, if you just have to go commando and don't get any sleep for a week, you will get it done. Then it will be over with.
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