Every night it is the same old thing. You put the kids to bed just to have them think of a thousand reasons they need to get up: to talk to you, get something to drink, kiss the dog, or something else. You find yourself doing battle on a nightly basis just trying to get them to stay in their bed. It can be frustrating, but you are not alone. Many parents have the same problem. In fact, a 2004 study released by the National Sleep Foundation reported that 69 percent of children between the ages of 0 and 10 have sleeping problems several nights a week. While it is a common problem, it can be stress producing. There are things you can do to encourage your children to stay in bed once you say goodnight.
Develop a bedtime schedule and remain consistent in its use on a nightly basis. It should be a 30- to 45-minute routine that happens at the same time each evening. Whether you do bath before reading, or reading before bath doesn’t matter as long as you develop a nightly pattern and stick with it except on the rare occasion that it cannot be helped.
Put the children to bed at the same time each night and wake them up at the same time each morning. On weekends or other days when they do not have obligations, you can allow them to sleep 30 to 60 minutes longer. Adhering to this schedule of waking and sleeping will get their bodies into the habit of relaxing and becoming tired shortly before bedtime each evening.
Keep your child’s bedroom between 68 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. A child that gets too warm or cold is more inclined to awaken in the middle of the night. Providing a good sleep temperature will help her stay asleep until morning.
Install a sound blocker such as a small fan for white noise so your child becomes accustomed to hearing the exact same sound each night as he sleeps. This will not only provide a patterned sound for your child to fall asleep to, you will be able to go about your business after putting him to bed without worrying that the sounds will wake him.
Set up a reward system. Tell your child that if she stays in bed every night for a week, she will get to choose one fun activity to do with you on the weekend. This could be going to a movie, extra time at the library, or simply helping you make cupcakes. Let her earn extra rewards in life by cooperating with bed-time schedules and staying in bed at night.