Getting enough sleep is vitally important for the growing child, but for many parents, bedtime can be a battleground. Common sleep problems in young children are: refusal to go to bed, procrastinating, getting up after being put to bed, and waking in the night wanting to sleep in the parents’ bed. These behaviours impact on the child’s physical well being, and can affect learning and behaviour. Parents also feel the impact of interrupted sleep and lack of time to themselves at the end of the day.
The vast majority of sleep problems can be resolved or reduced by developing strategies to change the pattern of behaviours that has developed around sleep.
Some bedtime tips:
Set up a predictable, regular bedtime, and stick to it as far as possible
Establish a routine which includes quiet activities prior to bedtime
Turn off ‘screen activities’ at least half an hour before bedtime
Ensure there is enough time given in preparation for bed so that your child is ready for bed at the time decided upon
Check through with your child a list of possible reasons for getting out of bed (such as needing a glass of water) and deal with them before the child is settled for the night.
Jenni Tremewen is experienced in working with parents whose children have sleep difficulties. She finds that where parents are prepared to collaborate with her in developing and implementing strategies, success is usually achieved.