Bullies & Cyber Bullying
Behavior Problems
Classroom-Student Behavior
Extracurricular Activities
Internet & Technology
Kids Health & Safety
Parenting Styles & Skills
Positive Discipline
Potty Training
Sibling Rivalry
Sleepovers & Bedtime

Getting Children to Sleep Through the Night

Believe it or not, most kids are actually trained to awaken during the night. Kids learn early that they can get a few minutes, or hours, of awake time by playing on mom's and dad's soft spot for them. But, you can train your child to sleep through the night, and avoid frequent awakening by making sure that you escort her right back to bed when she wakes up. This way, a small sleep problem doesn't become a big one.

Not sleeping through the night can be a problem for children, especially for toddlers, preschoolers and kindergartners. Getting enough sleep is critical for learning and to avoid behavior problems the next day. If your child is waking frequently during the night and having trouble getting back to sleep, you may need to adjust her sleep routine. Falling asleep easily, staying asleep for at least eight hours, and waking with enough energy to make it through the day are generally signs of getting enough sleep. If your child is waking frequently, she may not be able to stay asleep because she is getting too much sleep. Try sending her to be a half hour later or waking her a half hour earlier. If she goes back to a pattern of falling asleep easily, staying asleep, and waking with energy, then you've probably hit the nail on the head. However, waking frequently may signal a bigger problem with sleep.

Some sleep problems that may lead to frequent awakening include:

  • Families in turmoil
  • Stress
  • Illness
  • Sleep apnea
  • Separation anxiety
  • Depressed parent

Other problems that may cause children not to sleep through the night may include bruxism (teeth grinding), nightmares, night terrors, sleepwalking, bedwetting, and restless leg syndrome. These are called parasomnias. If you've tried adjusting your child's sleep routine, and you believe your child has a medical problem that is keeping her from sleeping through the night, make an appointment with her pediatrician. The doctor can help you assess your child for sleep disorders or diagnose an illness that needs treatment.