Kids’ bedtime problems 101 tackles the absolute inevitable when it comes to children. To be honest, children and bedtime issues go together like salt and vinegar or butter and toast. It will happen whether we like it or not.
Speaking about butter and toast let’s start with food.
“Mommy, I’m starving!”
We’ve all been there. You look at the time thinking that the bedtime routine is on time or even better, earlier than normal. Your mind wanders to how you will eventually watch that show that you keep putting off because you are too exhausted after a long day. Only to have your hopes dashed when you hear, “Mommy, I’m starving”.
Why exactly does this happen? Well, a change in eating patterns can be spurned on by growth spurts or plainly put, your child hasn’t eaten enough tryptophan foods.
Tryptophan is an amino-acid that helps with the production of sleep hormones such as melatonin and serotonin. During the day, try to limit unhealthy snacking and focus on tryptophan foods such as: bananas, avocados, chicken, chickpeas and lentils.
My foolproof bedtime snack is peanut butter on a slice of wholewheat toast or a yoghurt.
“Mommy, I’m scared”
A perfect bedtime routine with a full tummy and no last minute requests might have you jumping for joy until you kiss your little one goodnight and she whispers, “Mommy, I’m scared”.
Studies show that 73 percent of children between the ages of 4 and 12 experience some sort of nighttime fear. It can vary from being afraid of the dark to the noises in your home. Children’s minds are overactive at times when it comes to their imagination. Talk to your little one to find out what exactly is their fear in order to tackle it in the best way possible.
If it’s the fear of the dark, like we are experiencing at home invest in a decent night light. We are thrilled with the Tommee-Tippee Penguin 2-in-1 Portable Night Light .
By understanding their fears, you can conceptualise how to deal with it. If it is an overactive imagination about monsters then create a monster spray to help you little one spray the monsters away.
“Mommy, tell me a story …”
Children can be quite inventive when it comes to excuses to not sleep. They will push their luck in order to avoid bedtime which may include reading another story or *insert a silly yet humorous excuse like “Mommy, I need to fetch my marbles from the lounge so you don’t fall”* (This excuse was used not too long ago).
Testing boundaries comes with the territory of a 4 to 5 year old child. With this age comes independence, as they are “big” now. Remember to be consistent during this stage so sticking to bedtime rules will help curb this.
Another factor to consider is if your child is actually tired or is in fact overtired. Try dropping the midday nap to help aid their nighttime sleep.
“Mommy, can I sleep in your bed?”
You might find yourself in this predicament during the early hours of the morning. You are too tried to argue and happily lift the duvet and allow your night time visitor in your bed. Only to be banished to the sliver of the bed while she sleeps like a starfish while you mutter your disdain to your sleeping spouse.
Or better yet, my child has to sleep with her head on my pillow that we are face to face. Only for me to hear, “Mommy, your breath stinks” at 2am. Really? I didn’t know.
As tired as you are, take your child back to their bed. You’ll both have a better night’s sleep. Be firm with bedtime routines and talk your child through the routine before settling in for the night.
Separation anxiety may also be a major factor for your nighttime visitor. During the daytime, talk to your child about being away from one another. Encourage a comfort blanket or a toy to help reassure them if they are experiencing separation anxiety.
It is a stage that will pass I promise you, your child will not be sleeping in your bed until they turn 18.
“Mommy, I had an accident”
Bedwetting can be a major bedtime problem in your home. As stressful as it is for you, your child is just as stressed about it if not more than you. It all depends on the way that you handle bedwetting.
It is not a behavioural issue, nor is poor potty training linked to bedwetting. If your child is over the age of 5 and wets their bed, then it is considered bedwetting. Wetting the bed at least twice a week is then considered bedwetting.
Most importantly do not punish your child as that can only worsen the problem. Bedwetting occurs for a range of reasons that you need to tackle.
Firstly is it primary bedwetting or secondary bedwetting?
Primary bedwetting explains a child that hasn’t stopped wetting the bed for 6 months or more.
Secondary bedwetting is linked to pathological and psychological reasons.
It is recommended to visit a doctor to see if there are any underlying medical conditions. From there, you can assess whether medication is needed or if your child’s development of their central nervous system hasn’t matured yet.
Age is not important here but rather your child’s own development. Help ease their anxiety until that happens with nighttime pull-ups such as DryNites Pyjama Pants.