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How to Get Children to Sleep

For many parents bedtime for children can be very stressful.  It can sometimes take a whole evening just to put a child to bed.  After endless requests for drinks of water and many trips to the bathroom, your patience is growing thin.  Many children just refuse to go to bed and they are being deprived of much needed sleep. 

So what does a parent do to take control of this situation?  A bedtime routine is the key.  Having a consistent routine which your child is not going to be able to change or manipulate will prepare them for bedtime.

Let’s start with setting a time for bed.  Many parents think that they can put children to bed late in hopes that they will sleep a little later.  However, whatever time you put young children to bed, they still tend to wake up early.  Set a time like 8:00 p.m.  If a child is having a hard time getting to sleep they may be taking to long of a nap at preschool or home.  You may want to check with the school to see how long they are napping.

A set bedtime will also give you a couple of hours to spend with older children and with your spouse before going to bed.

Your child’s bedtime is set.  About an hour before bedtime let your child know that bedtime is approaching.  Give your child a warm bath.  A bath aids in getting your child relaxed.

Next, read your child a bedtime story.  Let them choose a book.  Engage your child in the story.  Then spend a few minutes talking after the story. 

Now it’s time for lights out.  A child cannot sleep with the light.  Don’t get in the habit of letting them fall asleep to the TV or a video.

If you follow these simple steps and be consistent your child will fall into the routine.  And you will be well rested and calm as well!

Debra Fortosis

Serving Sarasota/Bradenton 

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