Coping with Children who won’t sleep on their own
30-12-2016

It can be so hard when your child won’t sleep in their room. Up all night, in and out of bed, into your room with fears or worries. Sometimes it is just easier to give in.  Here are some suggestions to help.

Eliminate Distractions


Remove televisions, computers, and other electronic devices from your child’s room to create an environment that is conducive to sleep. The stimulation associated with watching TV or playing video games and the light from computer and TV screens both make it much more difficult to fall asleep. Certainly, a dim light, such as a night-light, is OK for kids who need it.

Establish a Bedtime Routine

Take a warm bath, put on their night clothess, brush teeth, and read good-night stories -- getting into a regular habit helps youngsters feel more secure about going to bed. This predictability prepares kids psychologically and reduces their nighttime anxiety. It lowers stress levels and creates a series of steps the child anticipates and knows will lead to bedtime.

Minimize Your Presence

Leave the room before your child falls asleep so she's not dependent on parental presence. If you do stay in her room, don't lie in her bed or interact with her. Move farther away from her bed each night while she is falling asleep to gradually reduce her dependence upon you.

Establish a Sense of Security

Your absence or the thought of a monster lurking under the bed can leave your child wide-eyed at bedtime. Ease the transition from sleep to wake -- and calm their fears -- with comforting objects such as stuffed animals, blankets, or even a nearby goldfish tank. Let there be another presence in the room that reassures your child.

Take It Slow

Many parents prefer to put their child to bed and tell them that they'll come back in a bit to check on them. Keep your promise, but wait for successively longer intervals of time. Ideally, they'll fall asleep during one of these intervals. Start with a 5-to 10-minute waiting period. If you return in less than 5 minutes, they'll likely be awake. But if you wait too long, the child might become anxious and agitated, which makes the situation worse.

Be Consistent

If your child slips into your bed in the middle of the night, accompany them right back to their room without much interaction. Simply say, "You need to stay in bed." It's important to be firm about returning your child to bed every time this happens. If you don't do this every time, it teaches your child to be more persistent.

Reward Good Behavior

And ignore undesirable behavior such as crying. After a good night, let your little one choose her favorite cereal for breakfast or pick out her outfit the next morning. This helps them associate the behavior with the reward.

Ages
2 to 3
Calories
1,000-1,400, depending on growth and activity level
Protein
2-4 ounces
Fruits
1-1.5 cups
Vegetables
1-1.5 cups
Grains
3-5 ounces
Dairy
2-2.5 cups
Ages
4 to 8
Calories
1,200-2,000, depending on growth and activity level
Protein
3-5.5 ounces
Fruits
1-2 cups
Vegetables
1.5-2.5 cups
Grains
4-6 ounces
Dairy
2.5-3 cups
Ages
4 to 8
Calories
1,200-1,800, depending on growth and activity level
Protein
3-5 ounces
Fruits
1-1.5 cups
Vegetables
1.5-2.5 cups
Grains
4-6 ounces
Dairy
2.5-3 cups
Ages
9 to 13
Calories
1,600-2,600, depending on growth and activity level
Protein
5-6.5 ounces
Fruits
1.5-2 cups
Vegetables
2-3.5 cups
Grains
5-9 ounces
Dairy
3 cups
Ages
9 to 13
Calories
1,400-2,200, depending on growth and activity level
Protein
4-6 ounces
Fruits
1.5-2 cups
Vegetables
1.5-3 cups
Grains
5-7 ounces
Dairy
2.5-3 cups
Ages
14 to 18
Calories
2,000-3,200, depending on growth and activity level
Protein
5.5-7 ounces
Fruits
2-2.5 cups
Vegetables
2.5-4 cups
Grains
6-10 ounces
Dairy
3 cups
Ages
14 to 18
Calories
1,800-2,400, depending on growth and activity level
Protein
5-6.5 ounces
Fruits
1.5-2 cups
Vegetables
2.5-3 cups
Grains
6-8 ounces
Dairy
3 cups