Family • Wellbeing • Adventure

Thursday 21 February 2019

How parents can beat those bedtime battles


It's a scene familiar to many parents. No sooner have you put the kids to bed, you then start to hear the pitter patter of tiny feet. Soon after, you hear the creaking of the stairs. And just after that, you hear your little darlings shouting down to you…
"Mummy, I can't sleep." Or…

"Mummy, I need a drink." Or…

"Mummy, I want to see you."

Or any words to similar effect. Say goodbye to your evening with your Netflix box sets and your calming glass of wine, because despite your utterances of…

"I don't want to be mum today."

You know you have to begin that bedtime battle once again!
We are sure you are in agreement with us, no matter how old your children are. Getting to them bed is difficult enough, but getting them to stay in bed is even harder.
Just what are you supposed to do about it? Well, we need to work out what the issue is. When you know why they are having difficulty doing the right thing at bedtime, you need to understand the root cause.

For example…

#1: Your children aren't tired

Would you go to sleep if you weren't tired? Probably not, and because your little ones are so full of energy, it's little wonder that they hop out of bed, play with toys they shouldn't be playing with late into the evening, or walk downstairs to see you.

Tip: One solution to the problem is to check on their sleeping schedule. Are they getting up too late in the morning? Are they taking too many naps during the day? If so, you might need to adjust their sleeping routine, so they are more tired of an evening. The other thing you can do is tire them out near bedtime. Play active games with them, or, if it's a fine evening, take them for a short stroll around the block. Do anything that tires them, and hopefully, they will then be craving their bed, rather than resisting it.

#2: Your children don't enjoy being in their bedroom


Do you want to know why your children come downstairs to you? It might be because their bedroom is unappealing to them. Why stay rooted in dullsville, when there is a hive of excitement waiting for them downstairs. Well, if you can call putting your feet up and watching the soaps exciting!

Tip: For starters, make some changes to your child's bedroom. There are loads of novelty beds on the market, from treehouse-shaped to racing cars, so buy them something that could be considered exciting to sleep in. And if there are siblings in your family, you might also consider heavy duty bunk beds, so your children can share a room without having to sleep alone. Then decorate the room in line with what your children are interested in, from fairy princesses to dinosaurs, with the appropriate wallpaper colours, wall art, and ornamental items. And then provide something for your children to do in their rooms, sending them to bed early so they can tire themselves out through reading, colouring, or listening to gentle music. When they have a room worth sleeping in, they may be less inclined to sneak out to bother you!

#3 Your children are afraid of something

Is that the sound of scratching under the bed? Are there eyes peering from the wardrobe? Is that a shadow slowly coming to life in the corner of the room? In all instances, it's probably the pet cat, but in your child's imagination, it could be a hideous monster (no offence to your cat), ready to pounce on them and gobble them up! Or your children may just be afraid of the dark, or they might fear being alone for any other reason, and so their fretful minds will prevent them from going to sleep.

Tip: Talk to your children about their fears, and don't brush them off by telling them to "stop being silly." Remember the fears you had as a child. They might seem insignificant to you now, but then, they were probably very real. So, you need to find solutions. There are ways to get rid of the monster in the bedroom, so consider these monster-vanquishing tips here. Again, be mindful of the cat - she won't be impressed by the 'monster swatter' in the linked ideas, but at least she will stay out of your child's room next time! Then keep a light on outside your child's room if they are afraid of the dark, or purchase a nightlight that can be placed next to your child's bed. And if your children are afraid of being alone, despite the cats and monsters keeping them company, you might want to spend some time with them in their room, such as by reading them a story or singing lullabies before heading downstairs to your wine and television.

#4: Your child has a lack of routine

It's no good sending your child off to bed at random times. And it's no good assuming they will know when it's bedtime, especially if they haven't yet developed the skill of learning the time. For children, a routine is vitally important, not only for their body clock but also for their understanding of what to expect at certain times of the day.

Tip: Start the bedtime routine ahead of time. After your evening meal, give them a choice of things they want to do before bed. It might be playing a game, watching a television programme, or making something out of Lego, as examples. This should stop them complaining that they aren't allowed to do what they want when it's finally time to get into bed. You might also incorporate bath time just before bed, getting them into their pyjamas, so they know bedtime is imminent. And you might also allow them a healthy bedtime snack as well as a story, to round off the evening. Make this routine a constant, and you might then have less trouble once bedtime rolls around.


Bedtime battles are stressful for both parents and children, but with the suggestions we have offered you here, you might have less trouble in the future. Still, let us know what you think, and if you have any other bedtime tips and tricks up your sleeves, be sure to share your ideas with us.

K Elizabeth xoxo

*Collaborative Post

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