As a parent, you’ll struggle through a lot of tasks to get your child on the right path. One of those tasks is getting that child to sleep: sometimes, the youthful spirit won’t settle, and if your kids aren’t sleeping, you’re not, either. Furthermore, studies show that teens that don’t get enough sleep may be more irritable, lazy, and may seem to have behavioral problems.
What’s important is what not to do: don’t try to explain to your kids that they need to sleep, or that you need sleep. Children need sleep to grow and parents need their own rest to help their children. As a parent, I’ve learned rest is an underrated, yet beautiful for the working couple. A child won’t appreciate sleep because they’re so young and full of energy, they don’t understand that “daddy’s just resting his eyes”. So explaining it to them isn’t going to work.
Don’t feed your kids too close to bed time – it’s a rather large mistake I initially made with Munchkin. I thought it would be good to give her a nice big feeding and allow her to play around in her jumper, thinking it’d tire her out. Of course, the older we get, we’ll feel tired no matter what we do, but no…this isn’t the case with children. While full bellies tend to make my wife and I sleepy, Munchkin could bounce in her jumper until nearly sunrise!
Another thing is stimulating activities, which again, is a complete no-no. Similarly, you’ll think it’ll make them sleepy, but it really just keeps them awake.
One suggestion is that you can try is driving in the car to put your child to sleep. This is actually an extremely popular tactic across the pond – new parents cover more than 1,300 miles a year driving their children to sleep! Another thing I suggest is reading your child to sleep, but make sure it’s a familiar book so it’ll bore them. If you try to feed new, exciting information to them, there’s a very good chance it’ll keep them up. Trust me.
Another thing – try to avoid singing or rocking your child to sleep. I’ve noticed that when either my wife or I do this with Munchkin, it’s required again when she wakes up in the middle of the night.
Some things to try with troubled sleepers: Comfort tools – flashlights/nightlights to “see the monsters” and a stuffed animal to “protect” them. Grant rewards for going to bed on time (and keep a schedule, too, because they’ll get used to becoming sleepy around the same time every night). Limit late night after-school activities (if they’re in school; don’t let weekends get the best of you).
All in all, it’s vital to consider your child’s needs, appetite, diet, and even emotional needs. However, dependency can be an issue, so plan ahead – and remember – being a parent isn’t easy, but we commend you for trying hard to get them to sleep. We know how troublesome the task is.