Sleep Training Part 4: Seven Life-Saving Tips for Dealing with Bedtime Problems

Parent’s need their kids to get a good night’s sleep just as much as children do, to ensure their own needs are being met, and to get some freakin’ time alone, okay?! GOD! Just go to bed!... pleasssseeeeee. BUH!

How to prevent bedtime problems:

1. Set a regular bedtime and rules.
It helps to have a regular bedtime. This depends on your own families routines, but anywhere from 6 to 8 pm is a reasonable time for young children. Set some rules about what you expect your child to do at bedtime. “Go to bed when mom tells you to. Lie down quietly in bed..”

2. Countdown to bedtime!!!
Not just you and your hubby counting.., but giving your children a “heads up” warning 30 minutes, 15 minutes and 5 minutes before you tell your child to finish what they’re doing.

3. Start a bedtime routine.
It’s very important for children to have regular bedtime routines so they know what is coming next. Set up a routine and explain it to your child. Be sure to do the same thing every night.

Here is a bedtime routine example:

  • Say goodnight to everyone
  • Quiet reading before bed
  • Brush your teeth
  • Go pee
  • Go to bed at the set time
  • Be quiet, no calling out.
  • Stay in your on bed until morning.

4. Make sure your child’s room is comfortable.

It should have plenty of air, a constant temperature, maybe even a night light… basically, do everything the opposite of Harry Potter’s aunt and uncle Dursley... keeping your child under a stair case isn’t okay.

5. Let your child check his or her list

Go through every possible excuse your child will use to get out of bed.

  • Have you brushed your teeth?
  • Have you gone pee?
  • Had a drink?
  • Said goodnight to everyone?
  • Say goodnight and leave

6. Use a Behaviour Chart
You can make a behaviour chart for stickers or stamps for motivation. You can leave a small surprise under their pillow, or let them choose a special breakfast.

If your child calls out, or comes into your bed, don’t give the reward; just remind them of the goal and to try again next time.

Read more on how to make or use our behaviour chart - -under behaviour charts-

7. Steal these kick-ass bedtime strategies:

  • Start the bedtime routine 30-40 minutes before you would like your baby or child to go to sleep.
  • The bedtime routine should be relaxing and predictable with the same things happening every night at about the same time.
  • The routine could include a bath or nappy change, a massage, putting on night clothes, a breastfeed or a warm drink, teeth cleaning, a story, a lullaby, relaxing music.
  • Turn off all screens (TVs, computers, tablets, phones) at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Looking at screens just before bedtime.
  • The bedtime routine should finish in the bedroom with the last part of the routine (eg a story or a lullaby) happening with your baby or child in bed.

When you are ready to leave, say goodnight and walk away. Ignore any requests or complaints. Let your child fall asleep on their own.

In the morning, praise your child for following the steps of their bedtime routine.

At first, you may like to reward your child for following the routine, and staying quietly in their room al night.