Getting Kids to Sleep

Getting Kids to SleepFor those of you with young children who need to get their sleep, you know that the late sunset can make even the most tired child resist going to bed.

And who can blame them? When I was a kid, I remember the blistering unfairness of being sent to bed at my regular bedtime of 8:30pm in the summer, when it seemed like half the street was still playing outside These later, lighter evenings make it hard to convince the kids that it's bedtime when the birds are still singing in the trees.

This is what you can do to convince them:

Have fairly heavy curtains

Blackout blinds aren't just for babies. A simple solution such as decent bedroom curtains to block out the light may make all the difference in helping your child settle down for the night.

Listen to an audio book

Find a quiet audio book that your child can listen to. The soothing voice might relax them and lull them to sleep. Plus, as an added bonus, audio books might spark an interest in reading the books themselves during the day. Depending on the book, it may trigger a few strange dreams so choose carefully.

Quiet music

Find some quiet music (don’t rule out classical!), or create a CD of some of your child's favorite songs. Even if your child's not actually asleep, if they're in bed while listening to music it will help them drift off eventually.

Build in a bit more activity

Sometimes the solution to getting your children to sleep is to tire them out during the day. This is the perfect season for a trip to the park, a bike ride or swimming. You might even exhaust yourself to the point where you need a little nap and the kids have to wake you up.

Allow resting in bed, even if they're not asleep

You can't force a child to go to sleep, but you can insist that they stay in bed. If your child is a real fidgeter who has trouble setting down, give them a small toy to hold, or a special cuddly to talk to when in bed, and this will focus their energy and help calm them down.

Consider a later bedtime?

Every child is different in terms of their sleep needs, and if your child's bedtime has been the same for years, perhaps it's time to consider letting them stay up a little longer. The key question is whether they seem like they're well rested in the morning? Experts recommend that five to ten year olds need around 10 or 11 hours of sleep per night, so depending on what time you need to get up, count back from there to work out a suggested bedtime.