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Home >  Information A-ZAll Kids Information Articles > Bedtime Battles- Older Children

Bedtime Battles- Older Children

When your child begins to get older, and they sleep in their bed on a regular basis, you may still face battles with them about going to sleep. This is especially true when there is something going on that makes your child feel as if they will be missing something while they are sleeping. For some parents, they face a battle every single time they try to put their child in bed, and for others, it is only every once in a while. There are a few things you can do to help make bedtime go as smoothly as possible for most of the time:

• Routine—this is one of the best ways to ensure that your child will not have any problems going to sleep when bedtime arrives. Every night, do the same thing and your child will just get into the habit. This means that they will know bedtime is coming based on the routine and they are better able to prepare themselves.

• Wind down time—whatever the routine you set for your child, it should always include time to wind down. You shouldn't have the routine be bath time and then immediate bedtime, because it is very possible that your child plays in the bathtub and gets wound up. Instead, you can have bath time, then story time while the child is laying in bed or something else that will help them relax and calm down.

• Give warning—even with the normal routine helping your child to know that bedtime is coming soon, it is good to give your child a warning that their play time will be coming to an end soon. Even children as young as 2 can learn approximate amounts of time based on experience and it can help prepare them for what's to come. For example, you can tell your child that they have 10 minutes until bath time, and then it will be story time and bed time. Then, five minutes later, tell them they only have five minutes left. While they still probably won't be happy once that time arrives, you are giving them warning so that they aren’t interrupted in the middle of a game or other fun activity.

• Limit sugar and caffeine—if you let your child eat and drink foods and beverages all day that are filled with sugar and caffeine, it is very hard to get them to go to sleep. In this case, you can't blame the child because it's not their fault, they simply have too many additives in their system that are forcing them to be hyper. If you limit your child's intake of these throughout the day and set a time in the afternoon that is the daytime cutoff for these, you can help ensure that bedtime will go a lot smoother.

• Make exceptions—if your child normally goes to bed easily without a fight, there is nothing wrong with making an exception every now and then. If they have a visitor, such as a friend sleeping over, or if there is something else going on that is out of the usual routine, you should expect that your child will not go to bed as easily as normal. In this case, you could let your child stay up late. This has a couple of benefits: not only are you making it easier on yourself and your child by avoiding a battle for a while, you are also giving your child the opportunity to get sleepier, which will make it easier when the time does arrive.

• Make it comfortable—if your child's sleeping area is more comfortable, they will look forward to it more. This can include having comfortable sheets and blankets, possibly that you let your child pick, and adhering to their other needs (this may include a nightlight if they are scared of the dark, etc.)

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