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Tricks for getting a toddler into PJs?

User
Jan. 17, 2012

We fight with our 2.5 year old about PJs EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. We’ve been fighting the same fight since my son was old enough to crawl. He’s all boy, strong and wiggly and wild, so it’s very hard to get him to do things he doesn’t want to. I hate ending a nice day with a physical takedown just to get pants on him!

Does anyone have a good game or distraction that makes this part of a toddler’s bedtime routine easier?

Things we have tried:

Letting him pick the outfit (he ignores us)

Letting him do it himself (he could, but won’t)

Getting fun PJs that he loves (helps, but doesn’t solve it)

Doing a countdown/race to see how “fast” he can do it (he is too distractable at bedtime so he forgets we’re racing)

Answers

Does he really HAVE to wear PJs? I mean, no need to go commando, but perhaps he just isn't a PJs kid?

User
Jan. 20, 2012

That's an interesting suggestion. I guess if he was cold for a night, he might understand why we want him to wear PJs. And if he wasn't cold, even better! They say to only say no to things that really matter... maybe this fight is one we could let go of winning. Thanks, Jackson!

Cool, I'm curious to hear how it works after you've given it a go!

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I usually play the "this little piggy went to the market" each piece of clothing you would say the this little piggy and when your done you tickle him. works for my son everytime

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User in Phoenix, AZ
June 22, 2016

Make a game out of it! You could let him pick out both yours and his pajamas for the night, and race to see who can get them on the fastest. That would foster development of his motor skills while making a boring task fun, and make him feel like he has some control over the situation. It might help to take him shopping for pajamas and let him choose his favorite. Explain to him why he should wear pajamas. If you can't come up with sound logic as to why you want him to wear his PJs, then maybe it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for him to sleep however he prefers. 

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This is where stickers can come in handy, start a star chart and every time he gets his pjs on he gets a dif star. one for all the pj's on, a dif one for partial clothes on,  have a special treat at the end of the week big treat for perfectly done every time and wonderful stars, have a second treat ready incase the week wasn't as great still to make him feel he accomplished something. Keep it simple and positive maybe first week he doesn't get any stars but on second week  look for more accomplishments if nothing has been achieved keep going eventually he will get older and catch on (fast idea lol)

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I would offer him an award. For example, say that he will get a prize if he does it or a field trip to his favorite destination. You could also do the reverse and say he will lose a privilege/ game/ tv time if he does not do it.

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Although I was amused with the answer about the child going to bed naked, my issue with that is that this is something that as a parent you need to have control of. If you let a daily habit go, you may be surprised to see your child expecting you to let others go. At some point, especially at that age, they need to know that YOU are the boss, not them. I've seen so many kids have problems later in life, and honestly most of them were because their parents didn't follow through and take the time when they were younger to teach them respect. If they don't respect you, they won't respect others, their teachers, their friends, or adults. Don't get me wrong, I love kids, and because of this, I want them to be their best when they get older, and ensure that they have it easier because they are respectful, and know how to behave properly. If it were my child, I would find the thing the child enjoys the most. My kids loved me to read to them. Whatever the fun thing is, make sure that you have time prior to the time you actually want him to be in bed to do the fun thing. After his bath (if that's when you do this), he puts on his pajamas. After his pajamas, we get to read a story in his bed! I would make it exciting for him, and maybe take him to a book store or library to pick a book you will read to him, after he puts on his pj's. Kids really do like to please their parents (even if you don't see it yet) :)  Once they see how it works, they like it. Even if it means you play with him and legos (if that is his thing) after he puts on his pj's, if you count that time in, he will be in bed, in his pj's, at the time you want him to be. Sorry so long, but I really believe in early training with children. The longer people wait, the more problems for the parents and the chiild. We don't help them by allowing them to tell us how we are going to parent them. :) good luck!!!

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I cannot say that it is WWE in my house when I'm getting my two daughters in pajamas but it is definitely challenging at times.

I think Jackson has a good suggestion of avoiding the issue by giving him an adult t-shirt or simply a pair of undies to wear. Maybe even just a diaper. However, mine take off their diaper when they can get to it so that wouldn't work for me.

Another thing that works for me is a distraction. It varies by age level but my 2 year old loves to play with berets so I give her one when she is being challenging while dressing. Or I sing to her loudly or say something like, "Did you see that spider on the bed?" and I act scared. Sure, maybe a bit of torment, but I need to get her dressed.

I have never tried this, but a popular christmas gift was the leapfrog (Nintendo DS like item). What about giving him something like that and you get him dressed while he plays. Moving around a limp body isn't easy, but much easier than a kicking and fighting body.

I hope this helps, good luck.

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User
April 18, 2016

Change up your schedule so that he changes into his PJs before fun.

When my kids were younger, bath was after dinner so they could get even more tired.   Fun was in the bath, so we could get them to take one without kicking and screaming.  We had a problem getting them OUT of the bath until we incorporated story time. We would read a semi-lengthy short story and come up with alternate endings. That worked for us but every family/child is different.  My son developed a pretty good creative mind.  He is now 12 and writes short stories for fun.

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User
Feb. 2, 2012

I agree that distraction could be a good idea. Maybe listening to a book on CD/ipod while you change into PJs. Another idea could be saying: "as soon as you get in your PJs, you can pick out a book for us to read." Thus taking away the focus from the PJ issue and putting it on picking out a cool book. Last suggestion- getting into PJs earlier (right after dinner, bath) and giving your child a chance to play for a bit after.

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User
Oct. 9, 2014

I know that changing into PJ is a common thing that mostly everyone does but maybe just having him change into a pair of clean clothes and not PJ would be just okay. 
Amy

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Have you tried having everybody do it together? Maybe if he sees you changing into your PJs, he might be convinced to try.

One thing I have found helps with my twins is that it's easier to convince 1 to do something once the other is already doing it. And if they both don't want to do it, I sometimes have success by saying "look, daddy is doing X, why don't you try it?".

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User in Stanford, CA
Feb. 2, 2012

From my personal experience, maybe what he means by the PJs-rejection is that he doesn't want to go to bed? That's what I've noticed with my daughter - she would refuse to take a bath every night because she knew that it meant the end of the fun. Same thing in the morning: because we would let her wear her PJs until late in the morning on the weekends, she now hates to change them really early on weekdays, because she knows that means she will have to go to the daycare (she loves the daycare, ONCE SHE IS THERE! But we are still going through separation anxiety here, after staying with mom at home until she was 18 mos old - she is now 21 mos).

That said, the way I've solved it was to 1) calmly ignore her 'changing clothes tantrums' and do it anyway, so she understands that she won't get away with it; 2) create an attractive routine and stick to it. The routine should always start and end with something she really loves - changing her clothes would 'casually' happen in the middle of it. So, at night, first thing on the routine is me breastfeeding her (I'm still breastfeeding twice a day, eve and first thing in the morning) and last thing, after nursing-taking vitamins-reading a book-taking a bath- putting on the PJs is listening to a song together, in the dark, rocking on the gilder chair. So she is really excited when I tell her it's time to go upstairs for nursing, and she can't wait for the song in the end, and she just happily takes whatever comes in between. Plus that helps them know what comes next, which toddlers like.

Hope it helps!

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I think Jackson has a good suggestion, and the main point is only to fight about those things that are really important. Case in point... when my boys were young, but a little older than yours, they hated getting up and getting dressed for school in the morning. They solved that problem themselves...they would take their baths at night and then get dressed in their school uniforms (Catholic school!) and then they'd be ready to go in the morning. Sounds and looked a little bizarre, but it saved a fight at night and in the morning, too. All they needed in the morning was to finish it off with their tie! By the time they got to school they were as unrumpled as everyone else! Right HIDDEN?

You really don't care what they sleep in. Check their covers after they're asleep and before you go to bed, and if they say they were cold the next morning, that might be a perfect time to together pick out a warmer outfit to wear that night! Good luck!

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User in Leesburg, VA
Jan. 19, 2012

I hear you, we're having the same fight with our 16 month old. She is happy and content and giggling and laughing until we try to put her PJs on. And then it's tears and hysterics. I've promised her that we won't do footed PJs when it gets warm, but for now, it's cold and she won't keep a blanket on.

We've tried the same things -- letting her choose which PJs she's going to wear. Having her "help" put them on. Sometimes singing a song will distract her long enough to get over the initial hump (once her feet are in and we're working on getting her arms in, she doesn't fight as much).

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