“Just Five Minutes More?” Ensign, Aug. 1978, 68
In homes where there are small children, bedtime is often a struggle. Youngsters involved in a game or television program feel they’re being abused when mother or dad says, “Time for bed!”
In our home a ten- or fifteen-minute “alert” works well. For instance, we say, “As soon as that program ends, it’s time for bed” or “I’ve set the kitchen timer to ring, and when it does, see how fast you can put your game away and scoot to bed.”
We have also found that if we make sure that teeth, baths, and prayers are all taken care of right after dinner, the children feel it’s a treat to read or play in their pajamas and slippers. And then when the signal is given, they are ready to jump into bed.
Sometimes we tell the children at suppertime that they have a small treat in store after they go to bed. We keep the treat a secret—it may be a story from the Friend, or a favorite book, or a glass of milk and a cookie as a bedtime snack. These treats are not rewards or bribes; they simply make bedtime more appealing.
It is important never to punish a child by putting him to bed, because he may associate unpleasantness with his bed and room—and we really want him to enjoy both. For that reason I’ve always had brightly colored bedspreads in the children’s rooms, decorated with animals or amusing designs. I have often heard my children point these out to their friends.
It is important to stick to the time set for going to bed from the time the children are babies; then there will be no begging to stay up “five minutes more.” Knowing the rules, and that dad and mom adhere to them, saves a great deal of discord—the last thing anyone wants in a home! Louise Price Bell, Tucson, Arizona.