My kids get up 3 to 4 times after I’ve put them to bed. It’s driving me nuts. It takes me an hour and a half to get them to sleep. What should I do?

Unfortunately, you’ve fallen into the trap of having your kids run the show. That needs to change. Start with a heart-to-heart with yourself and then have one with your kids. If you don’t win this battle NOW, it’s only going to get worse (think teenagers).

Begin by quieting down the house and turning off the TV a couple of hours before bedtime. Establish a consistent bedtime ritual (baths, books, brushing) that lets them know they are headed to bed.

Before you pray and sing to them as you tuck them in, address all the typical excuses for getting up (water, bathroom, nightlight) and then clearly explain the consequences of getting out of bed. Here is where you win or lose the battle. Don’t make threats that you are not going to follow through with, instead make the consequences of disobedience as memorable and easily enforceable as possible but you have to enforce them every time.

If you remain consistent in enforcing the consequences, bedtime can become one of the highlights of everyone’s day. Your kids will wake up in a better mood, do better in school and have a sweeter connection to your heart. Remember when it comes to bedtime: Quiet down the house, establish a secure bedtime ritual, enforce the consequences and enjoy the end of every day. Sweet dreams.

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