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Tantrums at bed time.

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz October 21, 2011 06:00 AM

We have a 3 1/2 year old. He has been sleeping on our floor at night for months and months. Normally it was fine and he went to sleep ok. Lately he has literally had meltdowns going to bed. He constantly asks me to talk to him and when I say it's time to go to sleep he gets into a full blown tantrum, crying, following me around, screaming. There is no consoling him. We let him cry for a bit but then try to cajole him back into "bed" and try to calm him. He ultimately goes to sleep but he doesn't often sleep well. I don't know what the onset of this is from as his routines are the same. We recently redid his room with a twin bed and he was potty trained but this happened before that took place. We are all exhausted and sad, not knowing how to help him. How should we respond when he goes into full blown tantrum mode and won't lay down and go to sleep? Thanks

From: Lily, Newton MA


Parenting chat transcript

Posted by Katie McLeod April 27, 2009 08:46 AM

Barbara Meltz took your parenting and child-caring questions on Monday. Click the "Replay" button below to read a transcript of the chat.

Parenting chat transcript

Posted by Glenn Yoder April 6, 2009 10:28 AM

Barbara Meltz took your parenting and child-caring questions on Monday. Click the "Replay" button below to read a transcript of the chat.

Parenting chat transcript

Posted by Katie McLeod March 23, 2009 01:40 AM

Barbara Meltz took your parenting and child-caring questions on Monday. Click the "Replay" button below to read a transcript of the chat.

Parenting chat transcript

Posted by Katie McLeod March 9, 2009 12:02 AM

Barbara Meltz took your parenting and child-caring questions on Monday. Click the "Replay" button below to read a transcript of the chat.

Telling kids where babies come from

Posted by David Beard, Globe Staff March 7, 2009 06:56 AM

The following query came during a readers Q&A with Child Caring writer Barbara Meltz, who takes questions again at 1 p.m. this Monday:

Question: Hi Barbara, I'm wondering what age you think is appropriate to have the "where do babies come from" chat. I have a 10-year-old boy who is asking a lot of questions. Yes, I let him watch PG-13 movies, but that only involves kissing. With all the Viagra commercials on and everything else on TV -- I'm thinking I'd better have a conversation with him before he hears it from someone else.


Parenting chat at 1 p.m. with Barbara Meltz

Posted by Glenn Yoder February 23, 2009 10:10 AM

Barbara Meltz answered your parenting and child-caring questions today at 1 p.m. Take a look at the full transcript below.

Tired of reminding my 9-year-old

Posted by David Beard, Globe Staff February 22, 2009 01:04 PM

The following came during a question-and-answer session with Child Caring's Barbara Meltz, who will be answering your queries at 1 p.m. Monday on

Question. Hi Barbara, any advice for how to get an almost 10-year-old to get herself ready (for whatever) without constant reminders for, 'get dressed!', 'brush your teeth!', 'brush your hair!'? You get the picture.

Barbara Meltz
: Dear longing for quiet, I guess it's safe to assume that these reminders sometimes become unpleasant? First, I would rule out any behavioral issue that might be making this hard for her; for instance, difficulty organizing herself. A tip-off would be if she has difficulty with these kinds of tasks at school. Assuming that isn't the case and that your expectations are within her reach, it's also reasonable to assume that she engages in this behavior because it gets her attention from you, even though its negative.

It's time to put the responsibility for getting ready squarely on her shoulders. She's old enough to assume it. Have a family meeting or a conversation where you lay it on the table. Be careful to make only "I" statements ("I get frustrated when you \ dawdle...") rather than "You" statements like, "Why can't you ....." Tell her you'd like her to assume full responsibility for getting ready ; does she think she can handle that?

If she can't, in what ways would she like you to help? In essence, draw up a contract that clearly outlines each person's responsibility. Perhaps she sets an alarm clock and wants you to look in on her one time to make sure she heard it, NOT to remind her to get up.

This should all be spelled out in the contract. The contract must also stipulate what happens if she is late: does it mean she misses the school bus? Then what happens? She has to walk to school? Does she know the way? Does she want to practice walking in once herself, just in case. These are details you need to work out with great seriousness.

Once she sees you are serious and especially if she once suffers a consequence, she'll be more likely to get with the program. The bottom line, of cousre, is that you must be willing to tolerate the consequences if she is late and not capitulate once you have agreed to consequences.

A few keys to making this work: that you lay it all out in matter-of-fact terms, without judgment; that you anticipate and make contingenices for any possible consequences good or bad you can both think of; that you do all this together so that she has input and doesn't feel as if you are, yet again, ruling over her. It's a process, to make this work, and it will take comittment. Be sure, of course, to heap praise along the way wherever appropriate.

Do you agree with Barbara's take? Have a thought of your own? Have your say in our comments section.

Chat with Barbara Meltz!

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse February 5, 2009 12:43 PM

Got a child care question? Here's a chance to ask an expert. Barbara Meltz will be hosting a chat here on Monday, Feb. 9, at 1 p.m.; enter your email address in the form below to get a reminder sent directly to you.


About the author

Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

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Barbara answers questions on a wide range of topics, including autism, breastfeeding, bullying, discipline, divorce, kindergarten, potty training, sleep, tantrums, and much, much more.

Send your questions to her at:
meltzbarbara (at)
Please include your name and hometown.

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