The Triple P Team tackles bedtime challenges, including refusing sleep or staying in bed.
Thinking restless nights are reserved exclusively for the newborn phase? Most parents can tell you all ages can have interrupted nights. One in three children under the age of 5 experiences bedtime struggles, which can include:
- Taking a long time to fall asleep
- Refusing to go to their bed
- Crying at bedtime
- Night wakings (nightmares or night terrors)
- Repeatedly getting out of their own bed
Most sleep patterns are established in infancy, and even the best sleepers can go through sleep problems during toddlerhood. But there is hope for getting your little dreamer off to dreamland.
Getting Ready For Bed
Toddlers thrive on routine and knowing what to expect next. Set an established bedtime that will fit into your family’s schedule.
Create a bedtime routine for your toddler to follow. For example:
- Use the toilet
- Brush teeth
- Say goodnight to the family (pets, too!)
- Read books
- Go to bed at a set time
- Stay in bed until morning
Thirty minutes before bedtime, remind your toddler that it is almost time for bed.
- A visual timer is sometimes helpful for young children, as is a picture chart that shows them their bedtime steps.
- During this time, start your bedtime routine of brushing teeth and using the bathroom.
- Remind your toddler again at the 10-minute mark that bedtime is nearing.
Take a few minutes before bed to read a few books or sing a song.
- You could also have your toddler take some deep, relaxing breaths. This is something your child can concentrate on themselves as they fall asleep.
When you are ready to say goodnight, make it short, sweet, and decisive. Avoid giving in to one more request or complaint.
More tips available at lanekids.org.
This article is brought to you by Parenting Now! Parenting Educators and authors Amanda Bedortha, Claire Davis and Lynne Swartz and consultant Jay Thompson (andupdatemywebsite.com). Parenting Now! is passionate about happy, healthy families. For more information about Parenting Now!, contact us here.
Triple P – Positive Parenting Program
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