Bedtime not working

Post your parents and sleep questions here.

Moderator: talkhealth

2 posts
Guest Posts
Posts: 819
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2016 4:12 pm

by Guest Posts on Thu Jul 09, 2020 10:55 am

Bedtime not working

I have a 2yr old who was good at bedtime until last week. Now he's not wanting to lie down and go to sleep, just saying "no" and "I don't want to" and if we leave him he cries hard. Just last week he'd let us leave after milk & stories and he'd settle himself down.

No changes in routine, no major changes around him. He doesn't nap anymore, if he even has 20 mins it he's wide awake and pushes bedtime back until at least 10pm so I don't let him nap during the day. I know he's tired as when he eventually does give in and lie down he's asleep in about a minute!

Any help would be much appreciated! Lorna
talkhealth team on behalf of a guest visitor

User avatar
Vicki Dawson
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:48 am

by Vicki Dawson on Thu Jul 09, 2020 5:30 pm

Re: Bedtime not working

Hi Lorna,

First of all it is great that you've identified so quickly a potential problem as getting in there early with strategies can really help to prevent this from developing into more of a long term issue. It sounds like there could be a number of things going on here and the key will be to stick to a well planned routine and to keep bedtimes positive.

It is helpful to plan bedtime to begin an hour before sleep time. It may be that using a visual timetable is helpful so that your child can see what is going to be happening next. You can put on pictures of key activities such as supper time, turning off screens, calming activities, bath time, teeth etc. You may want to play a particular piece of music to indicate that bedtime is approaching, helping him to get a sense of the time of day.

During the bedtime routine you could offer him choices to help him to feel like he still does have some control. For example, 'do you want to do a jigsaw or build with the bricks? You choose.' Or 'what would you like to do first toilet or brush your teeth?' Keep it really positive with lots of smiles and rewards so that bedtime becomes a time he looks forward to.

I'd recommend using a set phrase too such as 'it's sleep time now' rather than getting engaged in conversations once it is lights out time. If you are needing to stay with him until he falls asleep then you may want to use the gradual retreat approach and slowly start to move a little further away every few nights until you get to the stage where he is able to go to sleep again without you in the room.

You may also want to look at re-introducing a day time nap around lunchtime. A well timed nap can be helpful as it is ironically harder to get a sleep deprived child to sleep than a well rested child. Children can quite often present as hyperactive when they become overtired. If a nap occurs too late in the day it can however impact on the time that they are ready to fall asleep at night.

I hope this has given you some ideas and wish you all well,
Vicki Dawson
CEO and Founder of The Children's Sleep Charity ... dawson.php

2 posts