When I had my first son I often wondered why people made a big fuss about getting no sleep. We would put him to bed at around 7pm and then he would wake up usually between 6.30 and 7am the next morning. What was the big deal, I thought. Well, when I had my second son I soon found out why some parents would be walking around with big bags under their eyes and would always be praying for a few hours’ sleep. He would be up and down all night! It took a while and I made a ton of mistakes, but here are a few bits of advice from one parent to another of how to get your child to sleep.
Have A Bed Time Routine
In my house we had a strict bedtime routine that would run like this: bath time, story time and then bed time. Bed time should be structured and not just them going to bed whenever they are tired or when they want to! Eventually he knew that once his story was finished that it was time for him to lay down and try to fall asleep. Now I am not saying that my son would go straight to sleep every night, but this routine did help settle him.
Do Not Be Manipulated By Them
I swear that my youngest son was a master manipulator form a young age and would cry and cry until one of us would go running to him. As a parent eventually you know the difference between a real cry and a cry because they want to get their own way. No parent wants to hear their kid cry and I was the same, but when you give in and go in each and every time they cry or shout for you, they have you right where they want you. You are setting the example that all they need to do is cry or shout and you will go and see them in their room when they should be asleep. Eventually they will get the message, that night/dark time is sleep time!
Children Do Not Have Super Hearing
Many parents will tip toe around their child when they are asleep and if it was not for my sister, than I would have done the same thing if I am honest. But she gave me the advice that while your baby is sleeping you should carry on doing what you are doing. Do not go out of your way to make a whole bunch of noise, but at the same time tip toeing around them can lead them to be really light sleepers as they get older and have them wake up when a pin drops!
Have A Sleeping Chart
If all else fails and they just flat out refuse to settle or they keep getting up, messing around and no matter what you do, nothing works. Then resort to using a sleeping chart, well I call it a sleeping chart, some might call it bribery. Either way it can work. Make a chart with five boxes on it. Each night your child sleeps and does not wake up and mess around in bed, they get a sticker. If they get five stickers then they can get a little treat. Some parents are against bribery, but I am sure when you are running on three hours sleep you will be willing to give it a shot.
Keep A Cool Head
As bad as it may be right now, trust me when I tell you. This will not last forever. Eventually they will sleep through the night. And then of course when they are teenagers, you get your chance for payback as you get to drag them out of bed each morning!
You might also be interested in this related article: How To Help Your Child’s Fear Of The Dark