Getting the Kids to Bed

17November 2021

As a parent you understand the need for your child to get a good night’s rest but the struggle to get them tucked in every night is sometimes overwhelming. Here is some information that may help.

It could be that they are just not tired. If a nap occurs too late in the day, it could be they are still alert at the hour they should be heading to bed. Possibly the nap was also too long and they might need to be roused earlier. In fact, not all children need naps. Experiment with their sleep schedule and be sure to include some physical activities in the afternoon, outdoors if the weather permits.

The opposite can also be the case. They are tired but it is too early to put them down. Then, wham! Adrenaline kicks in and they are so stimulated that they can’t sleep. When this happens in adults we call it insomnia. An option might be to extend the bedtime routine until they release some of that pent-up energy.

It could be that they are too involved in an activity just before bed. For older kids, make sure that homework is completed as early as possible. For younger ones, make sure the exciting games, or pillow fights, happen long before the hour that they need to be heading to dream land. In other words, keep it as boring as possible just before bedtime.

Some children are just too curious. They feel they will miss out on something if they are asleep and so they fight it with all they have. Try a white or pink noise machine to give their ears something to focus on rather than the adult voices or television they may hear.

Fear is one of the more common causes and one of the most difficult to overcome. First, ask your child what they are afraid of; don’t assume you know. Reassurance is nice but if there re scary shadows do what you can to eliminate them by stowing toys away, etc. If necessary, use a flashlight to show them there is nothing under the bed. Close closet doors. Close blinds or shades so that moonlight on trees don’t turn into monsters. Don’t tell them their fears are baseless. Instead help them realize that they are only imaginary.

Being alone in the dark can be disconcerting and it may be that they just need some companionship for a while. A psychologist may call it separation anxiety. Try adding another chapter of the book until they drift off.

One of the best positive methods of a painless bedtime is to make it enticing for the child. In other words, something the child will look forward to instead of dreading. This becomes as important for the parent as for the child. If your son or daughter senses that you putting them to bed is just another chore or is something to be avoided, they will often feel the same way. Develop a solid and pleasant bedtime routine that works for your family.

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