One Thing I Did To Help My Child With Bedtime Stalling

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Written By Olivia Miller

Author at Montessori Expert.

Anyone who’s ever parented a child knows the nightly struggle – bedtime.

It can feel like a never-ending battle, filled with stalling tactics, sudden energy bursts, and a whole lot of “just one more” pleas.

But a good night’s sleep is crucial for both our children’s health and our own sanity.

Here’s how I finally found a way to help my own child drift off to sleep peacefully, and some tips and tricks I learned along the way.

Why is a Good Night’s Sleep Important?

Sleep isn’t just about catching some Zzz’s. When kids get enough quality sleep, they experience a whole range of benefits.

They have better concentration, learn more effectively, and have stronger immune systems.

It even helps regulate their moods, making them less cranky and more likely to be happy little campers throughout the day.

So What Do We Do?

The key to a smooth bedtime routine is to address the root causes of your child’s stalling and create a calming environment that signals sleep time. Let’s explore some ways to achieve this.

5 Causes and Solutions to Nighttime Anxiety

a parent and child are sitting on a bed in a dark room

Before diving into bedtime routines, let’s address some potential culprits that might be keeping your child wide-eyed at night.

Here are five common causes of bedtime anxiety, along with solutions to help them feel safe and secure:

1. Fear of the Dark

This is a classic childhood worry. Invest in a nightlight that casts a soft glow, or try a projector nightlight that paints calming images on the ceiling.

You can also create a stargazing effect with glow-in-the-dark stars stuck to the ceiling.

2. Unresolved Worries

Sometimes, daytime anxieties can creep into bedtime. Before tucking them in, have a quiet chat and see if anything is bothering them. Listen patiently and offer reassurance.

You can also try a worry jar – let your child write down their worries on slips of paper and put them in the jar. Knowing they’ll be dealt with in the morning can be comforting.

3. Too Much Energy

Burning off some steam before bed can work wonders. However, avoid high-energy activities close to bedtime. Opt for a calming bath, some gentle stretches, or quiet reading instead.

4. Hunger or Thirst

A grumbling tummy or a dry throat can definitely disrupt sleep. Offer a small, warm milk or chamomile tea before bed to soothe them.

5. Unfamiliar Surroundings

If you’re traveling or staying elsewhere, bring a familiar comfort item like a favorite stuffed animal or blanket to help them feel safe and secure in a new environment.

Also Read: 100+ Bedtime Phrases To Tell Your Kids

Few Ways to Help Your Kids Feel Close at Bedtime

a mom reading to a girl child in bed

Creating a sense of connection and security is vital for a peaceful bedtime. Here are some simple ways to foster closeness during your bedtime routine:

  • Cuddle Up for a Story:

Reading a book together is a classic bedtime activity for a reason. It’s a quiet, shared experience that allows for physical closeness and bonding.

Let your child pick out their favorite story, or take turns choosing one each night.

  • Sing a Lullaby:

Singing a calming song is a soothing way to wind down. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, even a gentle hum can work wonders.

You can personalize it by making up your own lyrics about their day or favorite things.

  • Offer a Back Rub:

A gentle massage can help ease away any tension and promote relaxation. Use calming strokes and focus on their back, arms, and legs.

  • Whisper “I Love You”:

Words of affirmation are powerful, especially before bed. Let your child know how much you love them and how proud you are.

  • Talk About Tomorrow’s Adventures:

Briefly discuss what’s coming up the next day – a trip to the park, a playdate, or a fun activity.

This positive anticipation can take their mind off any anxieties and create a sense of excitement for the morning.

Say these Phrases to Help Kids Feel Close

a mom kiss her girl child forehead while sleeping
a mom kiss her girl child forehead while sleeping

Sometimes, the right words can go a long way in calming nighttime anxieties. Here are five phrases you can try to help your child feel safe and secure:

  • “I’m right here. You’re safe.”

This simple reassurance can be incredibly comforting, especially for younger children.

  • “I know bedtime can be tough, but I’m here with you.”

Acknowledge their struggle and let them know you’re there to support them.

  • “Tell me about anything that’s on your mind.”

Open the door for communication and give them a chance to express any worries.

  • “I love watching you grow. You’re going to do amazing things.”

Positive affirmations boost their confidence and remind them of your love and belief in them.

Try these 15 Things to Make Kids Fall Asleep Easily

a mom and child laying on a bed

Now that we’ve addressed potential anxieties and fostered a sense of connection, let’s explore some practical tips to create a sleep-conducive environment and bedtime routine.

1. Set a Consistent Bedtime

Our bodies thrive on routine. Aim for a consistent bedtime and wake-up time, even on weekends. This helps regulate their internal clock and signals to their body when it’s time to wind down.

2. Create a Calming Bedtime Routine

Establish a relaxing routine that you follow every night before bed. This could include a warm bath, putting on pyjamas, reading a book, singing a lullaby, or offering a gentle back rub.

Consistency is key here, so your child knows what to expect each night.

3. Dim the Lights

Exposure to bright light suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep.

Dim the lights about an hour before bedtime to create a calming atmosphere.

4. Make Sure the Bedroom is Cool, Quiet, and Dark

A comfortable sleeping environment is crucial. Aim for a cool room temperature, eliminate distracting noises with a white noise machine if needed, and ensure the room is dark by using blackout curtains or an eye mask.

5. Limit Screen Time Before Bed

The blue light emitted from electronic devices like TVs, tablets, and phones can interfere with sleep. Avoid screen time for at least an hour before bedtime.

Opt for relaxing activities like reading or listening to calming music instead.

6. Encourage Physical Activity During the Day

Exercise helps burn off energy and promotes better sleep at night.

Make sure your child gets regular physical activity throughout the day, but avoid high-energy activities close to bedtime.

7. Avoid Sugary Drinks and Heavy Meals Before Bed

A sugary drink or a heavy meal can disrupt sleep. Offer a light snack like a banana or warm milk before bed if needed.

8. Let Them Know It’s Okay to Feel Scared

It’s normal for children to have nighttime fears. Acknowledge their feelings and reassure them that their room is safe.

9. Create a Worry Jar

Let your child write down their worries on slips of paper and put them in a jar. Knowing they’ll be dealt with in the morning can be comforting.

10. Stick to the Routine

There will be nights when your child resists bedtime. Be firm but gentle and stick to the established routine.

Don’t give in to lengthy goodbyes or demands for “just one more” stories.

11. Offer Choices

Giving your child a sense of control can be helpful. Let them choose their pyjamas, pick out a story, or decide on calming music.

12. Validate Their Feelings

Let your child know that their feelings are valid. It’s okay to be scared of the dark or feel anxious about being alone.

13. Be Patient

Changing bedtime habits takes time. Be patient and consistent with your approach. Don’t get discouraged if there are setbacks.

14. Make Bedtime Fun

Create a positive association with bedtime. Make it a fun and relaxing time they can look forward to.

15. Seek Professional Help if Needed

If your child continues to experience significant sleep problems, consult your pediatrician. There might be an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.

bedtime stalling image use for pinterest

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