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Parenting Dilemma: He Let The Kids Play All Night!

Child development expert and author Michelle Anthony, Ph.D., solves your trickiest kid problems.

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My boys beg to stay up late on the weekend. My husband often gives in, which means it’s Meltdown City the following day. It’s not worth it! How can I convince him to see it my way?

Staying up late is a big treat for little ones. But when it leads to crankiness (them) and grumpiness (you, toward your husband), it’s time to take action.

Since you don’t want to be known as the parent who squashes the fun, and you don’t want your husband to casually dole out the privilege, start here: Find out why the big guy gives in. Is he a pushover for those adorable, pleading 
faces? Does he simply not agree with your view that the kids should have the same bedtime every night? Hold a private conversation with him and explain your position, then come up with rules about requests to stay up late. If you can’t agree, you might gather the troops, get out the calendar and choose one weekend a month when bedtime can be pushed back. Then add the stipulation that Dad can reschedule once per month on the fly — as long as you both agree to it.

To avoid meltdowns, make sure the boys know that staying up late is a privilege to be earned: They must agree ahead of time that whining and complaining the next day are out (and if they do start, they go to their rooms); they will finish their homework before the special night; and they will have an earlier bedtime the following evening. Most important, make sure they understand that the next chance to stay up late depends on how well they handled the one before.

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Illustration Credit: Alli Arnold

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