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Sleepovers & Bedtime

How to Help Children Fall Asleep

If you have a child who has some difficulty falling asleep when it is their bedtime, you are not alone. Many parents share their concerns about this issue and seek answers about what they can do to address it. The good news is that there are things you can do to help your child fall asleep when it's time to go to bed.

How to Help Kids Fall Asleep Fast

Most children with healthy sleep habits are fast asleep within 10 minutes or so of their head hitting the pillow. But many children have difficulty falling asleep, and may even keep getting out of bed for various reasons.

If your child has difficulty falling asleep, keep the following parenting tips in mind:

  • Avoid heavy late-night eating or snacking before going to bed. Even an hour or so before bedtime can impact the quality of a child's sleep.
  • Create a bedtime routine that includes a winding-down period, so that their energy level is lowered in preparation for rest. Also, include a warning that bedtime is approaching, so the child can start preparing mentally.
  • Make sure the child has a comfortable sleeping arrangement, including a cool room, comfy pajamas, soft bedding, etc. You may also want to check the noise level in their room. If you are watching television or talking near their room, it could keep them awake.
  • Calm any fears they may have by providing a nightlight or flashlight, as well as a favorite stuffed animal they like to sleep with.
  • Check to see if they are sleeping too much during the day. Although most children do not nap at this age, if they are falling asleep in daylight, it could keep them from being tired when it's bedtime.

Helping Them to Falling Asleep

When kids are of elementary-school age, it is easy to discuss sleep routines with your child so that they can understand the importance of getting enough sleep and sleeping through the night. You may also want to see if they have reasonable suggestions concerning what they think will help them fall asleep when it's bedtime. They might suggest something as simple as keeping the door open halfway. The more you can empower them to be a part of the solution, the better. Even if a child can't fall asleep, it is important for them to know that bedtime is bedtime, whether they are actually sleeping or not. Explain that they need to stay in bed, even if they are not ready to fall asleep. If you don't, and you let them up to do other things or to watch television, you will be setting the stage for an ongoing problem.