The Office of Child Development at the University of Pittsburgh gives some great ideas for bedtime. Here are six ways on what you can do when your child has trouble going to bed:
1. Have bedtime start before it's time to say goodnight.
- Make sure to do calming and relaxing things to help your child calm down.
- Help your child with transitioning and let them know ahead of time that their bedtime is next.
- Read with your child and start talking in a quieter voice as bedtime is approaching.
- Avoid doing things that will get your child excited (i.e. playing a game, watching a show, etc)
- Don't give bedtime snacks that contain caffeine.
2. Set a bedtime routine.
It's easier when children know what to expect. Think of ideas that you can incorporate as a family in the bedtime routine.
- Take a bath
- Read books or tell stories
- Give hugs
- Sing quiet songs
- Say goodnight to things in the room
3. Let your child know that it's okay if they can't fall asleep right away.
When this happens, usually children get up out of bed. Talk to your children about ways they can help themselves fall asleep.
- Cuddle a stuffed animal.
- Think about a happy story.
- Sing a song.
4. Give your child something of yours.
Does your child want to sleep in your room with you? Sometimes it's hard for them to be separated from you even if it is a room away. Give them something of yours they can keep in their room so they can feel connected to you.
5. Leave a light on.
Night-lights can be a source of comfort for children if they are afraid of the dark or leaving the door a little open.
6. Crying may mean your child needs more comforting.
Sometimes, after you think you conquered the bedtime battles, your child may have trouble at bedtime. Don't get discouraged!
- On nights that are harder, spend a little extra time with your child before bedtime.
- If your child ends up crying hard after saying goodnight, sit nearby for a few minutes.
- Give your child a back-rub in an attempt to calm them down.
Cheers to ending bedtime battles and having your child get more sleep!