Parents who were able to surpass sleepless nights due to diaper changes and middle of the night feedings think that as the baby grows older, it is also the time to bid sleepless nights goodbye. However, putting your child to sleep in his own bed can be equally difficult. It can be hard to convince a child who can argue his way out of his bedtime.
When it’s about time for bed, try to keep things down in the other areas of your home. Your child may not want to go to sleep because he still wants to watch television, or he still wants to play with his toys. Turn off the television and computer so as not to tempt the child to stay awake. Likewise, keep his toys in order to get him to the proper mindset of sleeping. Encourage other family members to engage in quiet activities while you are trying to put your child to sleep.
At the end of a tiring day, there is still a need for parents to set aside a time for a child’s bedtime routine. These activities may include a refreshing bath, reading stories and playing bedtime music. Try to determine which works best for your child, so that you can establish a particular pattern each day.
Children have active imaginations, and some children may not want to sleep on their own bed because of their fears. The use of a night light can help if a child is afraid of the dark. Some children may need comfort objects in order to feel safe and secured. If your child is attached to a stuffed toy, make sure that it is with your child during his bedtime.
If your child still doesn’t want to sleep in his own room, promise your child of frequent checks. Your child may be comforted of the thought that you will be coming in to his room every ten minutes. Provide positive reinforcement by praising the child for every interval that he is quiet and content in his own bed. Try to avoid staying on your child’s bed because your child may expect that you will do that every night.
As children grow past infancy, parents may assume that middle of the night arousing is no longer an issue. However children may still awaken in the middle of the night, needing reassurance. Offer calm reassurance then tell your child to get back to sleep. These incidents can be quite common and it may help your child if you wait longer each night before you go to his room to comfort him. Eventually, your child may no longer need you to be in his room to go back to sleep.
There will be times that a child can test a parent’s resolve in trying to promote good sleeping habits. However, parents need to be firm and consistent in following the bedtime routine. If a child is so awake because of late daytime naps, try to adjust your schedule in such a way that you will be able to follow the set bedtime. During this phase that you are trying to promote independence in your child, expect whining, crying and pleading episodes. Although it may be hard in the beginning, all efforts at promoting good sleeping habits will eventually pay off as your child gets used to sleeping alone.