Help getting your child to sleep
Common Bedtime Problems and How to Solve Them
Children need 10 to 11 hours of sleep every day at least for the first 9 years of their lives. Lack of sleep causes a child to be irritable, cranky and tired the whole day. However, putting them to sleep or nap can be very difficult at times so here are some problems that parents often encounter with a suggested solution for each.
- Problem: Mom or dad still needs to finish a report that putting the child to sleep is often rushed.
Solution: It is important to make your child’s bedtime a priority even if it means sacrificing your own bedtime because you need to rearrange your schedule and have to stay late doing your report rather than doing it early. A predictable, calming bedtime routine is often key to a good night’s sleep. You can decide on the bedtime routine. You can give your child a bath, brush his teeth, read a story, massage him or sing a song for him. You can also use this time to praise your child for something good that he has done during the day or to describe something that makes you proud of your child. If you want to play bedtime music, play the same tracks every night. Nature sounds can also be a choice. Try things out and see which routine works best with you and your child.
- Problem: Your child doesn’t want to go to bed.
Solution: If your child can hear talking, laughing, or sounds from the computer, TV or cellular phones, it is easy to see why he wouldn’t want to go to bed. To ease the transition to bedtime, keep things quiet during the last hour before bedtime. Keep the TV out of the bedroom. Put away noisy games and toys. Limit the entire family to quiet activities, such as reading books or doing puzzles. Sleep may be more appealing if everyone slows down before bedtime.
- Problem: Your child stays up too late. Bedtime is 8:30 PM but by the time he is ready to bed it’s usually too past bedtime.
Solution: If your child isn’t tired at bedtime, try waking up your child earlier in the morning or scheduling his daytime naps in the middle of the day rather than late in the afternoon. Still, provide a calming bedtime routine. Taking time to wind down always helps your child fall asleep.
- Problem: Your child wakes up during the night and won’t fall asleep again.
Solution: If your child wakes up during the night, give him a few minutes to settle down. If time alone doesn’t do the trick, you might have to offer calm reassurance. Then tell your child that it’s time to sleep. Wait a little longer each night to soothe your child and help him to go back to sleep until eventually he falls back asleep without your help. You might also want to check how much he eats for dinner. Hunger wakes children up at night so it is important that you child east his dinner before going to bed. Also try offering warm milk before bed time. Take note, NOT HOT but warm milk.
- Problem: You are frustrated with your child’s bedtime problems. You are tired of the whining, crying and complaining, so you give up and let the child fall asleep in front of the TV.
Solution: Bedtime battles can test a parent’s resolve, but you have to hang in there. Be extra patient. You might have to ignore whines, cries and pleas. If your child is pushing the limits, state your expectations, tell him the rules and stick to the routines. The backbone of success with children is consistency.
Problem: You are frustrated with your child’s bedtime problems. You are tired of the whining, crying and complaining, so you give up and let the child fall asleep in front of the TV.