What can I do to get my child to bed on time?

The battle at bedtime has been fought for many years. How do you get your child to go to bed on time?

36  Answers

37 7

Create a routine...and never change it. My little ones have always had a bedtime...and when we don't enforce it, they are now at the point where their internal clock works...and they go to sleep on their own. They get cleaned up and ready for bed, we watch their favorite program...Mommy sings to them...they get water and kisses, and it's bedtime. Like everything else, I think the structure for them is comforting...they are not surprised and can expect what comes next....

16
0 0

So true yes structure , routine is the secret to happy mommy happy baby. :0)

10 0

To those who say MELATONIN Is a lifesaver. It might be in regard to mothers comfort, but you should not do anything to help a child to sleep because you don't even know if the child has a problem or its simply because you do not maintain a routine. Every human being - unless sick - bring an internal clock that is to respond perfectly to routines. Giving them aids to sleep at a such early age might produce a counter effect that will mess up his internal clock forever, leaving him with a dependentcy on drugs later on in order to be able to function. Give your child good food and stick to a routine and some creativity. That will be enough!

8
0 18

Absolutely NO melatonin! Routine with story time is the key, night after night. The kids relax more easily and fall asleep happy, especially if they pick out their favorite books.

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0 35

I have 5 girls and we have them on a schedule during the school year.
Homeworkimmediatle when they come in from school
Dinner is between 6 and 7
Showers/Bath/between 7 and 8( They also pick out clothes for the next day)
they have 1 hour to watch tv
Their bodies are all trained to shutdown at 9 and some days before 9.
Routein, routine, routine...

8
0 0

One hour of TV a day adds up every week. My kids do not watch any TV during the school week and may only watch a movie on the weekend if that. Children need to have at least 10 hours of sleep at night if more depending on their age. 9 pm seems too late.

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3 2

It's hard, for sure. I have to get them started toward bed about an hour in advance, with a 10 minute and 5 minute notice. Now that they're old enough to understand, I make sure they know what time they are supposed to be in bed and what has to be done before that, like brushing their teeth and cleaning their floor of toys and clothes. I tell them that if they're in bed by 8:30, they get to pick the book we will read. If not, I pick the book. Reading gets them calmed down, so they begin to get sleepy. If I do the routine regularly, they will follow. If I slack off, they will too.

7
10 2

The routine is key. Baths, snack, teeth and story worked to que my five kids. Audio books/stories as they get older are really helpful. However, that doesn't mean we didn't have arguments at bed time. My having health issues was not helpful. Bed time was 7pm for their safety and my sanity. When the older ones hit about 7 and 9 we started arguing about later bed times. Instead of arguing I decided that for each time my children got out of bed or gave me a "but Mom" I would subtract 15 minutes from EVERYBODY'S bedtime. This is where it got a little difficult. I had to put them in bed early and all other schedules were contingent on their cooperation at bedtime. One night was especially difficult and they all began arguing with me and complaining. For every "but Mom" argument I would just say, "That's 15 minutes." After I finally got everyone to bed I sat down and realized that the next day's bedtime was 3:30 p.m. They came home from school hoping that I would not follow through. They did their homework, I fed them, got them through the tub and put them to bed. It was actually later that 3:30 because they did not get home until 3:15, but they were in bed as soon as I could realistically get them there. I told them that they could read, but if I heard any fighting, complaints or whining I would pick them up from school the next day and put them to bed. I gained a reputation as the meanest mom in the whole world and had to deal with some personal guilt about "Am I doing the right thing or just being mean?" The up side was that they went to bed without argument after that. If I got a "but mom" or "I'm not tired" I would just ask if they wanted a 15 minute penalty. They would say no and got to bed. Going to sleep became optional as long as they stayed in bed and were quiet. They would fall asleep on their own eventually but as long as they were willing to be quiet they could read, listen to music or books on tape even color. Am I recommending putting your children to bed in the mid-afternoon? No. Just set a minimum bed time limit if they argue or keep getting up. I found that the follow through was the hardest part. Especially at the end of the day when I was exhausted and feeling really sick. My children are now adults and some have children of their own. After talking with them about it they all say that they would not do it, but understand the need for follow through. Was it bad mothering? I don't know. My children still love me and they all survived an exhausted and overwhelmed mom. I wish you luck and hope you find a routine that works for both you and your child.

6
62 18

Sounds like you did the right thing, you advised the consequences and you followed through. I hope I'll have the strength to stay committed when my kids push me that far : )

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18 10

Say goodnight, close the door and walk away. If you do that night after night after night it becomes what they expect. It's worked for me for both my kids. If they come back out, put them back in, don't say a word to them, just lead them to their bed and leave with no conversation at all.

6
0 0

Yep, that's how the nanny does it!

1 11

Well, after 6 months of therapy..I finally was able to get my 6 year old to go to bed at a bed time. First thing first take the tv out of their room if there is one in there. Have a routine at bed time that you can do every night. Example: Eat dinner, shower, pj's, read a book, rub their back or feet, kiss them and check out. I also had a behavior chart on my refrigerator and every night he'd go to bed with no problems he'd get a happy face on the chart for that day. Then if he get's 5 smiley's in row i let him pick some thing he would like to do or have (like a goal) always within means and reason. It doesn't have to cost you money..don't want a spoiled kid on top of it. So he lay's down at eight and would generally be asleep about 8:30ish on school nights. it does take determination on the parents part.

5
3 37

Create a routine, and be consistent. Summertime bed time is @9:30 or 10:00pm, because I don't work and we get to sleep in. The routine is always the same, Brush teeth, wash hands and face, read 2 books, and say prayers. During the school year, we don't make plans after 8pm, or if we do we leave at 8pm. This worked well with my 20y/o daughter as she was growing up, and it seems to be working with my 5y/o daughter.

5
1 2

Yes a routine is great and also you can try giving Melatonin. It is naturally in our brains, it's what makes us calm where we are able to fall asleep so it's perfectly safe. I have been giving to my son for awhile. You can buy it at any drug store or even Walmart. Good luck :-)

4
8 0

I whole heartedly agree!!!ROUTINE & MELATONIN!!! I have a total non sleeping at normal times child!!! have been using Melatonin since age One!!! like the sublingual, best price found at GNC...only takes 1mg! Lifesaver!!!!

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2 1

I was very lucky in this department! We had an established bed time and my son was given warning at 15, 10, 5 minutes till. This way it wasn't a total surprise and abrupt shutdown to his play. Additionally, this was the time for that last drink of water, bathroom, reading, and hugs/kisses. (kids manipulate us with those hugs and kisses!) or any other excuses used to stay up a few more minutes. When the bedtime came it was in bed, eyes closed. No exceptions!

I'm not sure about that melatonin. It may work initially, but eventually the body will get used to the additional chemical (naturalor not) and the child may not be able to sleep without it. Plus, you may be encouraging a potentially bad habit later in life.

3
0 0

I think every child is obviously different but the general rule is consistancy...If you have to lay down with him/her, if they lay down on their own or if they are rocked to sleep..as long as it is at the same time. I think it is SUPER important for a baby or a child to feel safe and not scared at bedtime. My girl jumps into bed at bedtime; ready to hit the hay, where as my boy needs my 20 minutes to make him feel safe..

2
11 6

I always had a routine with my daughters, that ended with a lovely kiss and "g'nite I love you." Now that they're in their twenties and sharing an apartment three hours from here, it's still a rare night that we don't text or speak just before I go to sleep. (Are they putting me to bed, now?) When my au pairs ask for guidance on this issue, I suggest a sequence that includes tooth brushing; storytelling; hugging and being totally firm. The grown-up gets to decide and if a child lies in bed singing or playing for another hour, it's okay. But if they get out of bed, be firm and gently and carry him or her back in. Do the hug and goodnight part over and over but stick to the bedtime!

2
1 5

In addition to most of these comments, we have also made a picture and word chart of the steps to bedtime. We put it on the door in his room, high enough so that he couldn't tear it down. Then we could just point to it and say what was next. We also did a reward chart for the move from his crib to his toddler bed.

2
0 0

Bedtime routine for sure. However be cautious, very cautious about using bedtime as a punishment. This sets them up for failure. Children should look at bedtime as a good thing to help their bodies rest. When we tell them they are going to bed as a punishment they did for something else, they begin to relate to bedtime as something bad. We always made bedtime a nice experience, never a punishment and both my kids never gave us a hard time, so much so that other parents were mad at us because we couldn't relate to their problems.

1
0 0

I absolutely agree with starting early (we start about 30 minutes before bedtime for my 4-1/2 year old) and following a routine (our routine is bath, short playtime, a cup of milk, several books read by me then snuggle time with my husband). But I absolutely disagree with the use of melatonin. Yes, we do have it naturally in our bodies, but it is an outside drug you're introducing into your child and possibly making him dependent on. "Natural" remedies are still drugs. I tried melatonin myself several years ago (on a friend's recommendation) and it had a terrible effect on me. It made me as sleepy as a sleeping pill would, but then I woke up in the middle of the night, unable to go back to sleep. It wrecked havoc with my system and I would never take that chance with my child.

1
1

Obviously depends on the age, but the most effective way we found for our 9 year old was to suggest that he could do some more homework. Incredible how suddenly he got REALLY tired :)

http://bit.ly/1amVQFK

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3 26

I have a 5 year old, 3 yr old, and 5 month old... and bedtime since the new baby has been a NIGHTMARE! My oldest is strating school in the fall, and hopefully the 3 yr old will start preschool as well. The problem is that with the new baby, our schedule is off, and now I can't get them back on! The two oldest want to share a room, and I am feeling that having them together may be the main problem, but I don't want to take too much away from them at a time when we are adding a new addition to the family! Any suggestions for starting a new schedule with 3 little ones? We have til September to get it finalized, but for my sanity I would like a schedule daily! My oldest is pretty good (down around 9 and up around 730), but my 3 yr old will stay up as long as she can and sleep all day if you let her! Its bad when the 5 month old sleeps better! Any suggestions for getting rid of the binkie with the 3 yr old too??? Thanks!

0
0 8

Hey Liza! As far as getting rid of the binkie I would highly suggest one of two things: you could talk to your 3 year old and explain that the binkie is going to go bye bye and have them wave bye bye and throw it OUTSIDE in the trash. OR you can simply take it away without a word about it. I know the second one sounds harsh and could be really tough to accomplish with a 3 year old but I think you can do it. You've got to have major will power to stick with it. Don't let your 3 year old win by caving in and giving it back when you can't take the crying anymore. Trust me they will get over it. I know it's hard. I have a 2 year old and I got rid of hers at 18 months. PERFECT time to get rid of it so she can't argue with me about it yet. I only dealt with her screaming for 45 min at nap time and screaming 15 min that night but that was it. I haven't had any problems at all. I would recommend with your 5 month old that once they sleep through the night you only let them have it when they sleep. Bed time or nap time. That also made it a lot easier when I took it from my daughter at 18 months and I would take it away at 18 months for your youngest. I have a niece who is 6 and STILL has a binkie occasionally and it drives me nuts! Anyways, just some suggestions. GOOD LUCK! :)

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1 13

I TRY TO LIMIT MY 10 MONTH OLD TO 2 ONE HR. NAPS A DAY AND THE LAST NAP BEFORE 3PM. STILL I CANT GET HIM TO FALL ASLEEP BY 8:30! IT'S MORE LIKE 10 OR 11PM! BUT HE CONSISTANTLY NO MATTER WHAT BEDTIME GETS UP AT 7 TO 7:30 IN THE MORNING. WAKES UP TO NURSE AROUND 5-ISH. I WISH HE COULD BE ASLEEP AND STAY ASLEEP FROM 8:30PM TO 7:30AM!

0
0 0

If the shorter naps don't work to get the child to sleep earlier at night, try something different and let the 10 month old take as long of naps as he wants.

0 0

Read them a story, even small children like to hear a story that goes of by chapters, helps them to learn how to use their memory and extend their attention span...the kids love it and you can make it a habit one chapter a night right at 7:30 or 8:00 every night..be consistant take 21 days to make a new habit. Try with Little House on the Praire or Huck Finn. Something interesting that will catch their attention or a long book and don't reread all month so that the child gets either bored or just meomorizes the book than you lose.

0
0 18

Routine & starting early to allow for a few of the typical procrastination techniques they always try. If they end up in bed early - all the better!

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6 16

Start early with a 30 minute warning, then a ten minute. Read together before bed and make that a fun but calming bedtime ritual.

0
0 0

When my kids were just babies, I started the bath, book, bedtime routine. Now at 2 and 3, both kids know what to expect and evenings run smoothly. By 7:30pm both kids are in bed and my husband and I have the rest of the evening to ourselves :)

0
9 13

I'm lucky! I bought my oldest a toddler bed at 2 and broke him of the habit of sleeping with me. That was the hard part. Once I did that, he went to bed with no problems. All I would have to say is "It's time for bed!" He would go straight to his room and go right to sleep. When my second child was born, he was a little more defiant but shared a room with his big brother and when he noticed his big brother went right to bed with no games or arguing, he followed his lead. They now have separate rooms but they both still go right to bed and fall right to sleep.

By the way, I broke my oldest son of sleeping with me by playing books on tape when he went to bed and locking his door from the outside while he cried himself to sleep. Eventually he realized I wasnt going to give and just went to bed. It took about 2 weeks, but after that I stopped the books on tape and his reward was I read to him personally after he was tucked in.

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10 0

I don't think punishing a child is the best way. You could have been sleeping in his room until he has fallen asleep. We can do whatever we want to our children, but it does not mean is the correct or fair way. We have to always remember that we are to protect our children and make then feel protected as well. I do not advise any mother to use cruel methods to train a child.

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6 26

I start getting my daughter ready for bed about 45mins before and give her 5 or 10 mins warning before time to start getting ready. Bedtime snack is usually decided at this time as well. We usually do reading time after bedtime snack, teeth brushed, dressed for bed and face washed. If she is not ready in time for reading before bedtime then she does not get story time.

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3 0

I most of the times tell them to read a story book or else i be there in the bed room for sometime till they sleep.They are happy if Iam there and they early to bed.

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1 30

I have no idea if there is a perfect answer to this question. As we know, all children are different in their special way. I have two children less than a year apart. I have been very fortunate when it comes to bed time. They both go to bed between 6:30 and 7 pm and wake at about 6:30. I was a stickler about bed time from birth. My older child was sleeping 7 pm to 7 am at 4 months old and my younger child was doing the same at 5 months. I was extremely dedicated to a routine and consistency. I was fortunate because I was home with both of them every day. They took a nap at 9 am for an hour and then from 1 pm - 3 pm every day. When my second child was born, I put her in her crib at 1 and regardless of whether she was asleep or not, I didn't take her out until 3 pm. She started sleeping for the 2 hours just about a week later. As for the evening, I would do the same for both children. Always put them in bed at 7 and if they didn't sleep they were still in the crib. Eventually, they fell asleep without any difficulty. The most challenging part is staying with the routine, sticking to the time you set and following through. If we were out and it was getting close to 1 pm, i would immediately pack everything up to get us home for nap time. This was also true of the evening routine. I would pack up the kids and head home to be sure they were in bed at 7 pm NO MATTER WHAT!!! This was not popular with friends and family, but I stuck to my guns and now at 4 and 5 it is paying off. I rarely have trouble getting them to bed, sitters have it made and my kids are well rested 98% of the time. ROUTINE AND CONSISTENCY it's hard, but it works.

0
0 0

What did you do if they cried while in the crib?

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17 9

I am having the same problem with my 3.5 year old. I have tried everything i am hesitant about Meletonin because at walmart we can only find the pill form and my husband says he is not paying the price at CVS and other stores. I am gonna try some of these other suggestions cause we start school in the fall so hopefully we can get on a routine soon.

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4 2

I also had my children get their bedtime put earlier for messing around, their bedtime was 8 pm but for any messing around I moved it back half an hour, to allow for wasting time. When they got to a 6 pm bedtime, they realised I meant business and we really haven't had any problems since. They are allowed to ask for a later bedtime and my youngest is now looking forward to a trial of 8:15 in the spring, when the mornings are lighter. If I have problems waking them up for school then bedtime gets moved earleir as well. You have to be in charge and follow through with consequences.

0
2 0

I have a 12 year old; 8 year old; 5 year old and almost 2 years old. I also have done foster care for over 8 years, and with all of them they were in bed between 7:30 and 8 every night. I just explained that was the procedure and have never had then fight it. If they were not tired and got out of bed, they were put right back to bed and they learned Routine is the key to everything with children so they know what to expect and what is expected of them.

0
1 0

With my first child who is 6 almost 7 now I ended up finding the perfect solution to my night fights... We told him 30 min before his bed time that time was approaching , and together we set up the kitchen clock for 30 min ..When the alarm went off time was off. ( and no crying was allowed).. Bed time story was next and then he will go to bed with out a fight. Even my mom was impress...

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60 38

Melatonin is a lifesaver!!

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23 12

we have the same problem! up tonow! nd i find it very helfpful..( all the answers ) for me!...thnx!

0
0 0

My oldest is pretty good at getting himself to bed especially now I've told him he can choose his own bed time! I told him he could choose when he goes to bed as long as he sticks to the same time every night and gets up appropriately in the morning. He chose the same time as I'd been making him go to bed. Some people thought it was late (he had to go upstairs at 9pm and be asleep by 9.30pm).
I find it a little more difficult with my youngest. He never seems to get tired and he's also at the "it's not dark so it's not day time" stage. I have taught him to tell the time so he knows what time he has to go to bed. What I have started to do is to tell him to look at the clock. I'll also get him to get ready for bed about half an hour early so he has chance to have a drink if he wants one and he can have a cuddle on the settee before he goes up. It still doesn't always work but I guess if I keep it up and don't give in to him, he will eventually start taking himself up to bed at the right time just as my oldest does.

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0 18

Don't make it to early, remember your bed time. Let your child wake by them self a few times to see how long time they need. Then you will have an idea what time they need to be in bed for your schedule. Remember you need to live with it on weekends as well.

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8 0

Just be consistent.

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8 7

Create a routine and be consistent, is the best way . Children are innocent and you need to guide them to the right and best path always, they will tend to understand in the future. My child is almost 8yrs now, she has to be in bed by half past 8pm during weekdays , she is very use to it now.

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