DEAR HARRIETTE: On a recent pediatric visit, I told the doctor that our daughter now climbs out of her crib and comes in our room. She is 2 years old and a very wild sleeper. The pediatrician explained to us that the sleeping and eating patterns of kids can be a war for parents.
The doctor told my husband and me that we have to be united. He said that when she gets out of the bed, we should put her back in but not speak to her.
My husband converted her crib to a toddler bed, and we proceeded to count how many times our daughter got out of the bed. I counted 23 times that we put her back in bed. She cried and screamed nonstop, then finally pointed to her shiny boots, smiled and said "shoes"! My husband and I wanted to laugh, but it was wise to be silent. This child is relentless!
I told my husband to go to bed. My daughter and I stared at each other until 2 a.m. Then my daughter lay on her pillow and proceeded to pop up to see if I was still there!
I am pooped. I need my eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. What can I do? -- Momma Needs Rest, Cranford, N.J.
DEAR MOMMA NEEDS REST: Creating the discipline that makes your child follow your rules can be extremely challenging, particularly when it comes to bedtime. Your pediatrician was right in encouraging you to stick to the rules. If you let your daughter sleep with you, she will not want to sleep in her bed -- possibly for years.
You may want to go into your daughter's room with her an hour before bedtime. Do slowing-down activities together, including reading, giving her a massage and telling her a bedtime story. Tell her that one rule is that she must sleep in her room all night long. Dim the lights as you coax her to sleep. Stay in the room with her until she falls asleep.
When she gets up and comes into your room, silently walk her back, tuck her in and leave. Even if you have to do this over and over again, do it. Eventually, she will learn that she isn't going to win this war.
There's a great book that may help your family, called "It's Time to Sleep in Your Own Bed," by Lawrence E. Shapiro.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I started playing games on my phone with my children, and now I feel like I'm addicted. Whenever I have a spare moment, I find myself playing silly games instead of doing my work. I even got caught by my boss last week. I know this sounds crazy. I'm usually very responsible, but I can't help myself. What can I do to curb this habit? -- Addicted, Washington, D.C.
DEAR ADDICTED: What advice would you give your child? Turn off your phone and put it away so that it's not easy to boot up and play on a moment's notice. Set times when you will play with your children, and agree that you will play only at those times. Take the games off of your phone and have them only on a device at home.