Our 2 1/2 year old is constantly fighting his sleep time routine. It’s been quite a challenge and struggle. However we are slowly finding some tips that have been making quite the progress for us. Here are 10 tips to win a challenging child. I think He mysteriously believes if he sleeps he’s going to miss out on something really big. Don’t fret, it happens to all of us and you will overcome it!
1. Set a Standard Time for Bedtime
By setting a usual time, their bodies will began to get used to the routine. A child needs between 9 to 12 hours of sleep but it definitely depends on your child. It depends what they are used to. If they get up early in the morning everyday or if they like to sleep in until late morning. Once you’ve studied your child’s pattern you will begin to know how many hours of sleep they need. My son is an early riser regardless if he goes to bed late. He’s usually the first one up but now not so much because his sister wakes up earlier as she is four months old. We don’t use alarm clocks at home unless we really have to get up earlier than usual.
2. Set a Standard Time to Wake Up
As a child needs a regular time to sleep he or she also needs a regular time to get up. Without forgetting that the times will be different from the weekdays as they are from the weekends. We try to let them sleep in during those weekends but it doesn’t always work out as planned, does it?
Sometimes over sleeping can mess up the whole routine, especially at night or afternoon naps if they are still small.
3. Check that the Room Temperature is Cool Enough
If the room temperature is warm it can be a cause of lack of sleep, although having it too cold can also cause the same effect. The main room temperature is sufficient. Don’t cover your child too much, just enough to keep warm if eventually a slight breeze occurs.
4. Protection from their Fears
It’s easy for a child at a young age to be afraid of “monsters”, the dark, strange noises. Don’t brush them off. Talk to your child to find out what’s causing these fears. Speak openly and honestly about them while finding an alternative solution. Sometimes all that is needed is a little hug to show them you are there for them always. A special toy can also work wonders, leaving them at ease.
- Set up a Routine
This one can’t be stressed enough. It’s so important. Have a routine easy enough for them to get used to as having dinner, bath time, play, and brush teeth and story time. At our household we use that one and after the story we do a little prayer, we give each other a hug and a kiss. Keeping a routine will help the child get used to what’s happening next. It will be instilled in them and if by chance you ever forget one step they will remind you like clockwork. They will always know what to do.
- As Bedtime Approaches Turn off Distractions
Once that time rolls on by, turn off all distractions. The television, the computer screen, the cell phone, the radio, anything and everything, that will cause a child to lay awake in bed. Sometimes just a little bit of light at times can be a distraction. Some kids like to sleep in complete darkness while others prefer a night light.
- Reduce Stress before Bedtime
A calm environment can do wonders for kids. Reducing stress hormones can allow for a relaxed state of mind which in turn will allow for a goodnights sleep. Having pre-bedtime activities to a minimum can be calming, turning down the lights also helps. At times kids can be overly anxious about an event just before the date which can make it harder for any child to fall asleep. Try not to remind kids the night before of anything that will make them lie in bed thinking of tomorrow.
- Create a Sleeping Environment
Having a consistent sleeping environment can be very helpful. Being surrounded by many toys will not be helpful, however, having one toy can. Some kids like to sleep with a doll or stuffed animal like a teddy bear. The important thing is to create a quiet environment, one that allows for an atmosphere of relaxation. One that differs from the environment during the day and one from the night.
- Focusing on Relaxation
Focus on relaxation by not putting pressure on the actual sleeping. Kids can easily deprive themselves of sleep. As adults can have problems falling asleep, so can kids. We can easily get frustrated when they are not doing what we want. It’s fundamental to remain calm and focus more on soothing your child and creating an environment of relaxation.
- Talk to your Pediatrician
If you’ve tried all these tips and you feel as though nothing is working then the best option is to seek expert advice. Talk to your pediatrician about your worries and your child’s symptoms. Let your doctor know if he or she gets agitated, uncertain, has recurring nightmares etc. Your child can be experiencing a sleep disorder. Your doctor will be able to let you know the next step.