After a long day battling homework, toddler meltdowns, and the school-pick up line, time to unwind is necessary. But what happens when your kids won’t go to sleep and nighttime turns into a battle all of its own?
Protesting sleep is one of the most common problems for parents. Experts share advice on how to deal with your child’s sleep issues. Here are the common complaints and what you can do to save your sanity.
If Your Child Gets Up Before The Chickens
Does your little rooster crow at the crack of dawn? Dr. Rosen of Boston Children’s Hospital and author of Successful Sleep Strategies for Kids indicates that children who get enough rest are early risers, just like adults. Some kids do not require a lot of sleep, while others do. If your child is alert during the day and crankiness is nowhere on the radar, then he is most likely rested.
If your early riser is cranky by 10 a.m., he may have been woken up unexpectedly. Perhaps a noise from the outdoors or a hungry tummy prompted his awakening. Invest in a sound machine and offer a light snack before bed, like a whole-grain cracker or fruit.
Calling All Nap Protesters
The attitudes, blank stares, whines, and cries are all indications that your child is tired and needs a nap. Many toddlers refuse an afternoon nap no matter how good it is for them. Even when the child feels drowsy they might protest the best thing for them. Research published in the journal Pediatrics shows that there are factors that affect sleep in toddlers, both day and night. Genetics, diet, and environmental factors all play a significant role.
If your child protests naps try building physical activity into the morning routine, easing into low-key play and reading in the afternoon. When your child is calm, try nudging them to bed. Most children give up naps between the ages of 3 and 6 years old.
Handling the Socialite
Some parents have given up hope and opted to climb in bed with their little one to ensure both get a good night’s sleep. Kids sleep fine as long as mommy or daddy are adhered to their side. The child may be afraid of the dark or not feel secure. This is a normal part of childhood but there is much a parent can do to alleviate the stress.
Ensuring your child is truly tired when bedtime arrives, dimming the lights thirty minutes prior to bedtime, turning off the television, and spending time snuggling while reading are all soothing techniques that may warrant a good night’s sleep. If your child climbs into your bed shortly after midnight, give him a cuddle, and resist the urge to keep him there. Gently escort him back to bed and repeat the ritual, if necessary.