Bedtime or even afternoon naps is always a struggle for my three year old daughter. At a young age, she has already concocted so many clever ideas so she can just avoid sleeping. From praying that the sun would show up sooner to slapping her face, and even to the extent of literally holding her eyes open, she has already applied these techniques on me. In the process, I have also exhausted so many strategies just to get her to sleep.
If you are always at your wit’s end in trying to get your child to bed, you are not alone. Many parents often find themselves in a continuous bedtime battle with their cunning kids. So with this thought, try to embrace this challenge and continuously strive to create a bedtime routine that will best suit the needs of your child. Here are some tips:
1. Try to identify whether your child has any sleep problems. These may include fears, nightmares, night terrors, and even health issues like snoring and difficulty breathing. If you feel that these problems are already getting in the way with your child’s activities, don’t hesitate to consult your child’s doctor.
2. Establish an easy bedtime routine. With kids, it’s all about creating a structured and predictable routine. Kids generally benefit from having a fixed sleep and wake schedule. You also need to make sure that your child’s activities before bedtime will set the mood for sleeping. Avoid rough playing and any other stimulating activities that can keep your child awake.
3. Be firm. If you give in to your child’s wise antics, your child will continuously look for ways on how he can go past his bedtime. My daughter has a habit of asking water when the lights are already out because it gives her a reason to get up. Initially, I gave in to her scheme without thinking that I have become prey to her inventive ways. Since I started to prepare water at her bedside, she is now saying that she needs to eat. I have learned to ignore her requests knowing that she is just trying to stay awake.
4. Don’t forget Teddy. A child may try to avoid sleep because he is afraid of the separation. Providing your child his transitional object may seem like a small effort but it can go a long way in terms of providing comfort and security.
5. Get your child to love bedtime. Be creative and make down time a fun bonding activity with your child. If your child enjoys his down time routine, then he may not throw a fuss when it’s already time to hit the sack.
In dealing with kids, always remember that there is no one size fits all approach. You always have to make adjustments in order to suit a child’s unique needs. It may take a while before you can establish a successful bedtime routine, but if you can work it out with your child, you are guaranteed to have a more restful night.