Bedtime 101

You tiptoe out of the bedroom, fingers crossed, hoping your child has drifted off to la-la-land. Just before your head hits the pillow, you hear a cry or is it just your imagination? A few minutes later, your six-year-old walks in with the oldest stalling technique in the book: “I’m thirsty. Can I have a drink of water?” There are solutions to bedtime battles. The key is the find what will work for you and your family. It pays to read what doctors, developmental experts, and other parents have experienced and what they recommend. Not all strategies work with all children, but don’t make the mistake of moving from one strategy to another without giving it time to be the solution you’ve been looking for.

Too Much Sleep? Has your child had too much of a good thing? Too much sleep during the day may seem great at the time, but it backfires in the evening when children are wide-awake. Make sure naps are not too long and not too close to bedtime.

Transitions Are Tricky: Sometimes it’s not sleeping that children object to, it’s the transition from one activity to another. It’s hard to switch gears! Make the transition easier with warnings such as, “Ten more minutes in the bathtub and then you can choose your favorite bedtime story.”

Keep it Calm: Make it official: No roughhousing just before bed. Sometimes it’s tempting when children are all decked out in their pajamas to start a game of tickling or chasing. But it’s difficult to wind down from such activities. Choose a more peaceful bedtime transition such as a warm bath. A favorite bedtime ritual for many families is reading a story. It brings a feeling of closeness between parent and child.

Negate the Nightmares: Active imaginations coupled with darkness can quickly turn teddy bears into monsters. Often children have real anxieties and dread the darkness and separation from parents. Monitor the videos your child watches to cut down on scary images that are not age appropriate. Nightlights are helpful in some situations, and knowing that mom and dad are close is always comforting. When you put your child to bed, give calm reassurance with a goodnight kiss and a positive “I’ll see you in the morning.” Tuck in a stuffed animal, and don’t forget to sprinkle some slumber dust behind as you close the door.


Recommended Reading

Books for Children:

Bernard’s Nap, by Joan Elizabeth Goodman, illustrated by Dominic Catalano. In this delightful story, Bernard, the elephant child, is wide-awake despite the efforts of his mom, dad and grandma. Tumble Me Tumbily, by Karen Baicker, illustrated by Sam Williams. Lilting language and adorable pictures of babies and toddlers move this book along from cover to cover.


Book for Parents:

The Sleep Book for Tired Parents: Help for Solving Children’s Sleep Problems, by Rebecca Huntley. You may recognize yourself on every page.





Hobe Sound Early Learning Center
11580 SE Gomez Avenue
Hobe Sound, Florida 33455

Voice: 772-546-5462
Fax: 772-546-5480
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