Getting your child to stay in bed all night isn’t always an easy task. Even when kids are tired, they have a desire to explore. They want to know what is outside of their bedroom. At the same time, fear can sink in and they may become scared of the dark and convince themselves they need to get out of bed.
For one reason or another, some kids get out of bed at night. It may just seem easier to put the child in the parent’s bed but this forms a few dilemmas. The problem is bedtime for most kids is quiet time for parents. Plus, a child needs to learn a sense of independence in its own room.
Don’t let your strong-will child challenge you. As the parent you must stay in control when it comes to setting and enforcing bedtime rules. There are many ways to keep a child in its bed at night. You just need to be willing to try different things until you find something that works.
Keep in mind that some kids do look for excuses to get out of bed. They probably aren’t really hungry or thirsty and their head or tummy may not hurt. They just don’t always realize they should go to bed. If your child is that way then you need to remedy the situation ahead of time.
Here are a few simple tips that might help get you well on your way to maintaining a good bedtime routine with a child.
One thing to consider is what type of attention your child gets during the day. If you are working or gone all the time, they could be getting up just to hang out with you. Make sure that you make plenty of time with your child so that they don’t feel neglected.
Many kids are too young to understand the need for sleep. If you think your child will know what you are talking about, tell them of their need for sleep and how it can effect the way their bodies function. There are many fun workbooks and activities that parents can get for their children that teach the importance of good sleep habits. If your child understands that sleep is a good thing, getting them to stay in bed all night will be easier.
Turn your child’s room into a comfortable sleeping atmosphere. Pick warm colors and items that don’t cast scary shadows on the walls. Let your child help you pick out their favorite characters so that you can transform their room into a cozy way to relax. If kids enjoy the way things look, and how the atmosphere makes them feel they are more likely to stay in the bed all night.
Many kids need comfortable items to sleep with that make them feel safe. This could be a shirt, teddy bear, blanket, stuffed animal, toy, or a variety of other items children get attached to. If this is the case with your child, it is a good idea to have that item ready and nearby when it is bedtime. Kids often need something familiar nearby it is normal.
Stick to a schedule when it comes to waking up and bedtime. Serve dinner and snacks consistently also. If your child’s body gets on a schedule, they are more likely to stick to it. Plus, keeping to a schedule is a good beneficial habit that children can pick up for later in life.
Stay firm when it comes to bedtime. Remember the old adage, “If you give someone an inch they will take a mile.” This is especially true when it comes to kids and bedtime. You are the boss and you must stand your ground.
Children that get up at night because they have a need to urinate or kids that wet the bed should be cut off when it comes to fluids after a certain hour. Giving a bed-wetter a full glass of juice right before bed is never a good idea. Give your child a final snack and drink option at an hour you can live with and then let them begin to wind down for bed.
If your child is one that is easily distracted and hard to get prepared for bed, consider starting the getting ready for bed process early. Set and exact time for baths. Encourage them to brush their teeth, say their prayers and meet you in the bedroom.
If your child is young, it is likely you have a bedtime ritual you perform. This includes reading your child a book, hugging them, and tucking them in. If you don’t already do that, you should. Having a parent tuck them makes a child feel safer.
If your child is scared of thing they think lurk in the dark, you should make it a point to monster- check before you leave the room. Show them that there is nothing to be afraid of. Reassure them that you will be in the next room if they need you but encourage them to at least try to sleep in their own room.
Kids that are scared of the dark can benefit from light. This doesn’t mean that you should leave the light on in their room. Instead, think of a few dimmer ideas. You can purchase a nightlight for your child’s room and plug it into an outlet or string a small amount of white Christmas lights above the child’s bed or around the tops of the walls. If their fear is a little stronger, consider purchasing a small lamp or leaving their door open and the hall light on. Give your child a flashlight to keep near their bed just in case.
Unless there is a huge age gap, don’t treat siblings and bedtime any different. This can cause jealousy amongst your kids. If there is an older child around, encourage them to have quiet time while your younger child is preparing for bed. Never let an older child tease or aggravate the younger one when it is time for sleeping.
Offer incentives for your child to go to bed at the proper time. You can create a child. Include the activities they must do to prepare for bed. Let your child check off their progress each night. This will help teach your child responsibility.
When your child gets a full week (or month) of good marks, do something to celebrate it. Reward your child for doing a good job. This can motivate them to keep up the good work. Give them a new coloring book, or take them to see the movie they want to see. Show them that if they do what they should, good things will come to them.
Remember that bedtime doesn’t have to be a bad experience. It is what you make of it. Changes may not come over night but soon, the time will come that your child will stay in bed all night. Work with your child until they are able to transition into their own nighttime habits. Before you know it, these days will be gone and you will be giving this advice to them about your grandchildren.