Whether you cosleep or sleep in separate rooms, figuring out how to help kids sleep through the night is a rite of passage as parents. Here are some practical tips that I hope will help you and your family as you work towards this milestone in parenting.
Establish a Routine
It may sound cliche, but there really is truth to the adage that kids thrive on routine. Plus, they just make things easier and less stressful for everyone involved when you know what to expect.
Having a clear bedtime routine can be a great way to help your kids smoothly transition from the excitement of the day into getting for a restful night.
Of course, your bedtime routine will be unique to your own family. Perhaps you prefer to have storytime.
Or maybe your bedtime routine starts with a calming, hot bath. You might even prefer to spend a bit of time talking about what happened during the day.
Whatever your routine may be, make sure it includes your child being comfortable.
Having a comfy temperature, a cozy bed, and even a softly glowing night light may all help.
Have Plenty of Active Play
Kids (as a seemingly general rule) tend to have a lot of energy. And when they get to the end of the day without burning up a good deal of that energy, the result is often that it’s harder to get them calm enough to fall (and stay) asleep.
One sleep solution is to make sure they have plenty of opportunities throughout the day to be physically active and burn off some of that built up energy.
This can be done in a wide variety of ways – including sports activities, playing with their friends, running around the house/yard, and exercising.
Too cold or hot to be outside right now? Here are 15 ways to keep kids active indoors.
Listen To and Acknowledge Their Concerns
If your child expresses some type of fear or concern about bedtime (e.g. being afraid of the dark, afraid of monsters, unable to stop thinking, etc), listen with an open mind and a desire to help.
Even we, as adults, struggle at times with things that keep us awake.
It’s not abnormal for children to have the same struggle. By acknowledging and listening to your child’s concerns, perhaps you can help them find a solution.
Be Firm When Necessary
If your child continues to put off bedtime or wakes up in the middle of the night, do what you can to meet their physical and emotional needs.
However, once you’ve ensured that you’ve done what you can, it’s 100% ok to firmly let them know that it’s time for bed (or for them to go back to bed. You might feel guilty.
They may fight it. But remind yourself that it’s important for them to get enough sleep and stand strong.
Use a Reward System
When it comes to achieving goals and learning new skills (like potty training), some kids respond really well to reward systems. Let your child know that for every set number of nights that they are able to stay in bed all night, they will get a reward.
That reward is 100% up to you. You know your child best, so you know what would be the most exciting and motivational reward.
It also doesn’t have to be anything expensive. It can be something as simple as a reward sticker.
In fact, it doesn’t have to cost money at all! It could be something like extra time on the computer, picking the movie or game for family night, or anything else you know your child would love.
I hope that one (or more) of these tips helps your child have more restful nights. Do you have a tip or hack to help kids sleep through the night? Let us know in the comments below!