Kids Please Sleep!!

One of the biggest issues with parenting in the early stages tends to be about the subject of sleep. If your child’s not sleeping then you don’t get to either, most of the time.

Ok this is an intense subject; there are many how’s and how nots regarding what to do for the best, taking into consideration the fact that every child is different.

Why is my child not sleeping 

and what can I do to get them to sleep?

Let’s start from when they are babies.

Few babies sleep through the night right away. For the first few months, they tend to sleep intermittently for roughly about 12 to 18 hours a day. By the time they reach 9 months, a sleeping pattern has usually developed even though that might only be about 5-6 hours straight.

This is the time when it’s sensible to put them to bed when they are sleepy (not sound asleep) to help them to fall asleep by themselves, even if they wake up at night.
Toddlers and pre-schoolers need 11-14 hours of sleep and naps every 24 hours. So we form routines, set regular times for bed, naps, mealtimes, and play to allow for structure and for our children to fit in and around our schedules. 

What if they’re just not going to sleep or stay asleep?

There are the times when they are teething, sick, potty training of course sleep can get disrupted but it is only temporary and we allow for it.

Then there comes the time when you need to get your child to sleep alone, either in another bed or bedroom, so another routine has to be put in place. There’s often separation anxiety when this process takes place and battles of wills can begin, a merry go round where every couple of hours we escort them firmly/gently/soothingly/groggily/grumpily/exhaustedly back to their bed.This is when we tend to face challenges;

We have to rule out that they’re not sick, such as teething, upset stomach, fever etc if they keep getting up.

Choose whether we let them self-soothe or cry until they sleep.

Feel conflicted by not encouraging lots of conversation, singing, extra feedings, more cuddles, rocking, or even laying down with them until they go to sleep only for them to wake up shortly afterwards.

There could be fears of the dark, that silence at night when everyone is asleep can be unsettling for a child when they can’t sleep themselves.

The child feels anxiety for any reason.

We have to investigate and rule out whether there are any medical issues or whether they are taking medication which might have side effects that disrupt sleep.

Then there’s the major changes that include nursery, kindergarten and school, that come with lot of changes and challenges and takes a settling in phase. This can be disruptive to sleep patterns, as it’s a time of adjustment with previous routines, naps may be reduced, and there are times when children fall asleep just after leaving kindergarten or school, giving them a ‘second wind’ early evening, making it difficult then to get them off to sleep at their usual bedtime. Sometimes parents are encouraged to keep their babies and toddlers awake during the day so that they will sleep better at night, but preventing a tired from sleeping randomly can be really stressful in itself.

Experts suggest that it’s best to start a routine of winding down and relaxing at bedtime by the age of 4 months, that is, each night it’s bath, story time, a small snack and then lights out. This really does depend on your child and whether they are willing to go along with it. There are those who favour controlled crying/self soothing sleep training, and those who just can’t leave their baby to cry, find it stressful and that it goes against their instincts to repeatedly not pick their baby up if they appear to be upset. The evidence is mixed on the use of sleep training. Easier said than done at times. 

There are those children who will stall bedtime and make up reasons to stay up, wanting more stories, more snacks, more hugs or you to stay with them until they go off to sleep. It’s not always easy to stick to the routine you’ve done your best to put in place. Yes, you’re being firm, letting your child know that it REALLY is bed time..but it’s a long, drawn out battle and you still have to get up in the morning and function! 

It might be that you’re tired yourself, had a tough day, not enough hours in the day, facing your own challenges in addition to the ones your having with your child, which can create tension, and children pick up on tension, making it more likely that they are less likely to relax at bedtime.

Some children just are not willing to stay the night in their own bed. They get settled for the night after their routine, and a few hours later it’s a repetition of getting out and escorted back. There are some parents that give in for want of a nights rest,(peaceful sleep or not). This can take a lot of patience and persistence, even when you feel like you don’t have any left, being sleep deprived and expected to perform when you wake up!

So what’s the solution?

There are several solutions, methods and routines that we can use, and it is usually down to how these fit in with your child and you as a family.

  • Keeping the lights dim and keeping talking to a minimum to aide them in defining the difference between day and night.
  • Time spent in daylight, especially the afternoons, seems to help babies to sleep longer at night for the early phase of training them.
  • Putting them to bed when they’re sleepy but awake.
  • Routines such as bath time, stories, snack and hugs.
  • Keeping the household as quiet as possible. (TV, music, voices kept to a low volume). Others in household mindful of making disruptive noise.
  • Keeping your child away from stimulants such as sugar, computers, TV, boisterous games and play at least for a couple of hours before bedtime.

It really is important that your child understands how to relax at bedtime.

There’s much to bed said regarding relaxing before sleep. Most who suffer from insomnia struggle to relax before they sleep.

In fact most of us struggle to relax at all.

Learning the art of relaxation helps us to sleep and have good sleep quality in addition to many other benefits.

By teaching your child to learn to relax at night, you teach them to let go of the day and allow themselves valuable rest.

Learning to relax can be taught in the form of short stories/exercises read to your child at night from as early as 9 months.***Find the stories/exercises in my book WHEN I SQUISH MY EYES SHUT


Available on Amazon


Popular posts from this blog

The Kids Are At Home

Help Your Child Relax Into Getting Successful Tests Results!