I’ve never had a client ask, “How can I get my child to come into my bed more at night?” Every family has their own routines and strategies for getting little ones to bed. And if your’s is working for your family then enjoy. But many families are struggling with bed time routines, getting their kids to fall asleep, and one of the most challenging situations of all- getting their little ones to STAY IN THEIR OWN BEDS!
Sleep is the foundation for all of us to be at our best. Without a good sleep routine and plenty of sleep under our belt the day can be daunting to children and adults alike. Research show sleep is essential for brain development and can impact children’s ability to focus, cope with problems, and maybe even impact IQ (WEB MD Archives, http://www.webmd.com/children/features/good-sound-sleep-for-children) Dr. Ronald E. Dahl states in the National Center for Biotechnology Information online article Sleep And The Developing Brain, “Broadly speaking, it might be argued that the most fundamental requirements for healthy growth and development in young children include a) loving support and protection by parents/caretakers, b) adequate nutrition, and c) adequate sleep.” (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1978403/)
While having difficulty getting your kids to sleep or to sleep in their own beds can be an exhausting and frustrating situation, you are not alone. And the best news…you don’t have to reinvent the wheel! Let those families that have gone before you lay the groundwork for a new family structure that will help you all have much sweeter dreams.
- Decide what you can and CAN NOT live with. This is where you should be really honest with yourself about what you will or will not do. What your partner may or may not really want. What interventions and changes you will or will not really do. If it won’t work for you or you are unwilling to do it then that is not the strategy to start with.
- Set a goal. For example: Sleep in own bed. Earlier bed time. Less arguing during our routine.
- Think about the benefits of achieving this goal: less stress for the family, more sleep, healthier boundaries, more time alone with your partner, etc.
- Do your research. The internet can be a scary place full of misinformation. But it can also be full of valuable information to push you towards your goals. And don’t forget local moms groups, social media supports, and community counselors. Use the resources available to you!
- Don’t lose your humor, temper, or determination. Keep going- change takes time! Check out the books and blogs below for some hilarious (*explicit language warning!) perspective and tips!
If you want to talk about changing your kids bedtime and sleep habits give Leigh Ann Huffman, LCSW, at Gurnee Counseling Center a call at 847-336-5621, Ext 137.
Check out these resources for support, knowledge and a good laugh!
FOR KIDS AND PARENTS:
FOR YOUR FUNNY BONE: