Who else struggles getting their child to actually get in and stay in their bed at night? 

This is a common issue the families we support face on the daily! We are always supporting families to adopt positive strategies to encourage and reinforce a positive sleep rhythm. 

Our top tips to supporting your little one/bigger one to get into bed and stay in bed: 

1.  A consistent and predictable nighttime routine/transition to the bedroom and bed. Children do not have the cognitive capacity to manage time or time awareness as we do as adults! This means, they LIVE in the moment, and even though when the sun goes down we register this as night-time, children require other reminders/routines to help them realise that it is time for bed!

2. Prepare them for what's happening next and that it is bedtime soon - for example ‘you're going to get into your PJs, brush your teeth, have a story with mum and then it's sleep time’ - feel free to shorten these steps depending on your little ones age. This is an important step. Preparation is KEY throughout your day with children, but especially around bedtime. 

3. Limit screen time - this is a big one! I know it's easy to put the TV on and this is OK but just make sure they don't have screen time 30 minutes (ideally 60 minutes but let's be real here!!) before they need to be falling asleep.

4. Dim all lights 60 minutes before bed and keep the household as calm as possible. 

5. Participate in calming activities before bed - Dads - this is not the best time for you to have a wrestle with the kiddies even though this is a beautiful experience!

6. Take them into their room and do the same thing every night before bed - this may be stories/cuddles/kids meditation BUT keep it the same every night, this is essential as this helps their little, busy brains know what is coming next - yes this extra step supports your preparation in point 2. 

7. Keep yourself extremely  boring when putting them to bed! Use the same short statement. For example 'its bed bedtime now, lay quietly until you fall asleep, I love you, see you in the morning’  The more fun/engaged you are, the more negotiating that will take place - trust me!! When we keep our communication boring, kiddies learn that it's not play time and don't get reinforced to continue to call out and negotiate. Please also ensure the other caregiver is the same! 

But what happens if they continue to yell out/get out of bed???

Repeat step 7 as this is to cue its bedtime, keep it short and sweet. 

You may need to repeat this last step several times if they continue to come out or call out from their bed! But the more consistent you are and the more you don’t participate in their little negotiation, the more they realise that they are not getting that reinforced attention by you staying there and talking to them!! 

Please note, if you have concerns about your child or they are really upset, please attend to your child. 

I hope these tips help you have a more positive and successful transition to bed! 

Please reach out if you require any support around bedtime! 

March 28, 2022 — Light Coordination Therapy Services Admin