How to Get Kids to Sleep
You’re ready to hit the hay; your child is anything but. What to do? Experts share advice on how to get your kids to sleep at night.
He won’t go to bed. He won’t sleep alone. He won’t nap a wink. Any of these scenarios sound familiar? You have company. According to the National Sleep Foundation, nearly two-thirds of parents report some kind of sleep-related challenge at least a few times a week. Since adequate rest is essential for the entire family’s peaceable kingdom—not to mention your child’s well-being—Real Simple rounded up solutions for coping with the fiercest sleep culprits. Good night and good luck!
If Your Child Is a Rooster
Is he up and crowing at dawn’s early light? “Like adults, some kids are just morning people,” says Dennis Rosen, M.D., the associate medical director of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at Boston Children’s Hospital and the author of Successful Sleep Strategies for Kids ($6, amazon.com). Also, says Rosen, your child “may very well have gotten enough rest.” If tuck-in is, for instance, at 7 p.m., he’ll clock 11 hours of Z’s by 6 a.m.—and for many kids ages 5 and up, that’s plenty. (For an age-by-age guide, see Sleeping Like a Baby.) If he’s alert during the day, try shifting his bedtime to later in the evening. If he’s cranky by 10 a.m., he may have gotten a rude awakening from outside racket (drown out traffic with a white-noise machine), a wet diaper (nix pre-bedtime drinks), sunlight (try blackout shades), or possibly hunger (serve a small carbohydrate-rich snack, like fruit or whole-grain crackers, 30 minutes before bed). If that doesn’t do it, says Rosen, “it’s OK to say, ‘You don’t have to sleep, but you do have to stay in bed.’ ” Place safe toys nearby, and try out the Onaroo OK to Wake! clock ($30, americaninnovative.com), which glows green when he’s allowed to fly the coop.