What to Read Next

Ridiculously Clever Tips for Getting Your Kids to Sleep

Mother Nature Network (mnn.com)
Parenting
February 10, 2014

by Chanie Kirschner, Mother Nature Network


Parents of young children, I'm sure you've had a long, bumpy road. I imagine you start the bedtime routine at 7, at which time you begin coaxing your young child to undress and get in the bath. The process ends sometime after 9 p.m., at which point you wake up next to your child bleary-eyed, wondering how long you've been lying there next to him because he insists you lie down with him every night when he goes to bed. Am I right?


If this scenario sounds familiar, you are not alone. Know that countless other parents are going through what you're going through. Also know that developing good sleep habits is like developing good tooth-brushing habits - it takes time for your child to get there, but once he does, it's second nature.


A great book to read is "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Dr. Marc Weissbluth. In it, he discusses all sorts of sleeping problems, from apnea to night terrors. Though much of the book focuses on your child's sleep during the first year of his life, he also outlines a multi-pronged approach to help you wean your child off his bad sleep routine. He explains the importance of a regular sleep schedule in order to ensure that your child is well-rested, and by extension, happy.


For some, their child's nighttime sleep isn't the main issue because their child is already sleeping through the night - it's the two-hour routine of getting there that's the problem. So what to do?


Also see: Take the quiz and test your sleep IQ


Run an in-house errand

One technique that worked for a few friends of mine is this: Try putting your child to bed and then telling him you're going off to run some sort of errand (feeding the dog, cleaning up from dinner, getting into your own pajamas) and will be right back. Make sure to come back immediately so that he knows to trust you. Then, after a few moments, do it again, and this time, leave for longer. Then, the next night, do it again but make the period in which you leave even longer. Eventually, in one of those waiting jags, your child will fall asleep - without you there.


What about the child who gets out of bed every few minutes for the first hour after she is put to bed - for a drink of water, because her tummy hurts, for you to come tuck her in, because her tongue hurts (yes, I've heard this one), because she has an itch … the requests seem endless.


Don't fall into the attention trap

What most of these kids seek is parental attention. If you give it to them, they are usually not going to say, "I got what I wanted from her. Now I can go to bed." They are usually going to try to get it again. In this case, explain to your child before bedtime that she can no longer come out of her bed once you've said goodnight and that if she does, you are going to walk her back to bed without saying a word. Then, follow through on your good intentions. The first time she comes out of her room asking for that drink, take her hand and wordlessly escort her back to bed. Remember, behaviors like this get worse before they get better so there might be a tantrum involved. Try to leave the emotion out of it and stay calm and even-tempered (I know - easier said than done). Your child is trying to get attention from you - good or bad. Don't give in!


Sometimes, it's harder on the parent to teach how to sleep properly than it is on the child. But in the long run, it's worth it.


Weissbluth's philosophy is that the most important thing to have is a well-rested family. I can't agree more. If having problems with your kids' sleep is keeping you up at night, why not learn about some good sleep habits for yourself?


Related stories:

5 healthy snacks for children
How to help children deal with anxiety
9 children who were raised by animals

The Smith Part-Time MBA Gives You More Options

Ad Description Earn an MBA from UMD on your schedule. New accelerated options at 3 locations.

Banks Are Worried Homeowners Will Do This.

Homeowners are surprised and furious. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home, you better read this.

Looking for the perfect car at the perfect price?

Compare top makes and models.  So you can step on the dealer lot with confidence.  Get the right car without all the drama.

Insane Navy Seal Flashlight, should it be banned?

The Military has recently released technology that is now available to the public. Get yours before they run out - Limited Supply!

Toddler tantrum email series for moms

We get it. We’ve been there. Sign up for our email track for advice on how to handle different situations that may arise with your little one.

Brownstones with Rooftop Terraces Now Open

New 4- and 5-level homes in Northeast DC with views of the Capitol and Washington Monument from the mid $600s. Visit today during our Grand Opening!

VA Mortgage Rates In 2016

VA Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military Takes 1 Min!

How to Choose the Best Student Loans

The fun of summer vacation is often dampened by thoughts of student loan debts. See which loan is the best for you.

Buying Medicare Supplement Plan F? Read This First

Learn why Medicare Supplement Plan F might not be your best plan option.

Starwood Credit Card

Earn 25,000 Bonus Starpoints®! Use toward Award Nights or Flights.

Get vitamins here. Change lives everywhere.

For kids like Rosemary, proper nutrition makes a big difference. See how you can help kids everywhere just by buying your vitamins at Walgreens.

Bad News For Insurance, Great News For Virginia

Virginia drivers, with cars and good driving records are learning that they may qualify for lower car insurance rates. Do you qualify?

Federal Stimulus: Mortage Payments Are Cut in Half

Don't make your next mortgage payment until you read this! If you're over 45 years old, you could save $4,005 a year. (It's not what you think!)

Find Out Anything About Anyone. Enter Any Name.

A new site has made it easy to find out the truth about the people you already know and people you meet! Simply type in a name and select a state!