Whether your child refuses to go to bed or insists on sleeping in his or her room, bedtime behavior problems are common. Without proper intervention, they can get worse.
Bedside behavior problems are not only frustrating, but also interferes with your child’s sleep . Losing a little sleep can be a big problem for children. Sleep deprivation has been linked to everything from increased academic problems to behavioral problems. .
What can you do to solve your sleep problems? Here are some strategies that can help you quickly end bedtime behavior problems.
Set rules for bedtime
Create bedtime rules which describe your expectations.Set a time for your child to start getting ready for bed and clearly indicate what time the lights will go out.
Adolescents may have more flexibility at bedtime. Older teens should be able to start setting their own bedtime as long as they can get out of bed on their own.
Create healthy sleeping habits
Promote healthy habits to help your child relax and prepare for bed. One way to do this is to limit your screen time before bed. Watching TV, playing a video game, or using a computer before bed interferes with a child’s sleep cycle.
Although many parents turn on the TV to help a child fall asleep, a 2013 study published in Pediatrics found that watching TV delayed children’s sleep. .
- Avoid scary shows . Watching something scary before bed can also help nightmares in children . Monitor what your child sees during the day and pay special attention to anything he is exposed to at night.
- Be careful with news programs . Allowing your child to listen to the evening news can be problematic. Hearing stories about accidents, natural disasters and tragedies can scare children and contribute to nightmares.
- Skip screen time before bed . Do not allow your child to watch TV, play video games, or use the computer an hour before bedtime.
Instead, encourage quiet activities, such as reading or playing, to help your child relax before getting ready for bed. Discuss the benefits of sleep and why it is important for your child’s growing body.
Solve problems together
If your child has trouble sleeping, solve the problem together . For example, if your child refuses to stay in their own bed, talk about why they get up so often. Your child may lack some self-calming skills or may not know how to cope with boredom.
A common problem that contributes to bedtime behavior problems is fear. If your child is afraid of monsters hiding under the bed or the noises coming from the closet, sometimes creative solutions can help you. Try a night light, a monstrous spray, or games to help your child overcome their fears.
Train your child’s behavior when necessary
Sometimes, behavior problems need to be addressed step by step. If your child has slept in your bed every night for four years, it may be too overwhelming for him to start sleeping in his room at once. You may need to make the transition slower. Small steps can be especially helpful if you have a child who resists change.
Try to start the baby by taking a nap in his own bed. Or let them sleep on their own mattress in their room a few nights before move them to their own bed .
Respond consistently to behavioral issues
When sleeping problems occur, constant discipline is essential . If your child calls you repeatedly to tell you that he is not tired, ignore this behavior until he stops. If you respond to them after 10 minutes of ignoring, you will teach them that screaming enough will get your attention.
If you give in and let your baby sleep in your bed at the weekend, he will also try to get in your bed for the rest of the week. That’s why it’s important to send a consistent message that says, «I hope you sleep in your own room.»
You need to be consistent with your discipline every time the behavior stops.
It may be necessary to establish logical consequences from time to time. Going to bed early the next night or taking away privileges can motivate your child to make better decisions next time.
Rewards good behavior
Reward systems can be effective ways to promote good sleep behavior. Some options include:
- Sticker graphics works well for preschoolers.
- Older children can benefit from other simple rewards, such as gaining an extra 15 minutes on the computer.
- Token economy systems They can also be effective in addressing bedtime behavior problems. Allow a child to earn a token to stay in bed all night or to go to bed early, which can then be redeemed for higher rewards.
Seek professional help when needed
Your child’s sleep problems can be frustrating. It could interfere with sleep or a few quiet minutes that you enjoy before bed.
When your child finds it hard to fall asleep, consider the big picture . It is likely to be a phase that will pass in time.
Most bedtime behavior problems are not a sign of something serious. In general, developing a healthy bedtime routine can help solve the problem successfully.
However, sometimes sleep problems can be symptoms of larger problems. A sleep disorder or mental health problem can contribute to bedtime behavior problems. If your child’s behavior does not improve with the change in discipline, talk to your child’s pediatrician to rule out any basic problem.