Wonder why your kids won’t go to sleep at night? Here are a few possible reasons.
You read a story, you tucked them in, and you turned off the light. It’s time to sleep now, right? Wrong. Bedtime, for many families, is anything but peaceful and calm. For some families it’s the most stressful time of day.
Everybody in the house is tired after a long day, but for whatever reason, the kids won’t go to sleep. They’re scared of the dark, thirsty, hungry, need to potty, want to talk, need one more hug, and the list goes on and on. Or maybe they lay in bed quietly but just won’t fall asleep. Whatever the reason, bedtime can drag on for hours, culminating in mom or dad giving in and laying down with their kids until they finally fall asleep.
If you’re tired of the bedtime drama, here are a few reasons why kids have trouble settling down at night and what you can do to make bedtime a more peaceful part of the day.
A toddler or young child won’t learn to fall asleep on their own if you’re always there to soothe them. Unless you’re there to rock, sing, or nurse them to sleep they’ll cry and fuss. When they wake in the night and you’re not there, what do they do? Cry until you come. Starting fairly young, put your children to bed when they are sleepy instead of being sound asleep and they’ll learn to fall asleep on their own. It may take a few nights, but they’ll learn to do it on their own and everyone will be happy.
Many children have trouble falling asleep because they’re too tired. While this doesn’t make sense to adults, it happens to kids who’ve stayed up late the night before, skipped a nap, or had an over-stimulating day. A regulated sleep schedule is highly important for young kids. Children ages 1 to 4 years need 11 to 14 hours of sleep each day, including naps. Ages 5 to 10 years require at least 10 hours of sleep each night. The best way to ensure they get this much sleep? Keep reading.
You’ve heard that consistency is key, and this is definitely true of kids at bedtime. Do the same routine each night. Start with a snack and then give your child a warm bath, a bedtime story, and a kiss goodnight. Want to make sure the routine goes as desired? Don’t give in to their pleas for more stories, hugs, or snacks. Kids learn at an early age how to manipulate and out-smart their parents to get what they want. Give in once and your little ones will expect it every night or put up a fight until you give in again.
Many children go through a phase of separation anxiety when mom or dad leaves the room. Reassure your child that you’re nearby. It’s fine to provide occasional brief comfort, but keep the lights low, your voice soft, and don’t reward them by holding or feeding. Let your child keep a nightlight on, suck on a pacifier, or cuddle with a soft blanket or stuffed animal for additional comfort.
Kids may have trouble settling down at night when they’re surrounded by stimulation. A messy room filled with fun toys, a loud television in the next room, or screens in the bedroom tempt a child to stall sleep. Make your child’s bedroom quiet, comfortable, and dark. Keep computers, televisions, video games, and phones out of the bedroom. Turn off all screens an hour before bedtime and dock phones in a central location at night.