When your child stops having a daytime sleep, you may like to keep giving them a rest time during the day. They may enjoy a quiet time either in bed or sitting on the couch with books, toys or a CD of children’s stories or songs to listen to.
Some children find it hard settling to sleep at night.
If sleeping is a problem for your child, you may like to try some of the following suggestions.
Bedtime should be a happy time. It can help to have a regular routine before bedtime, eg bath, a story or a quiet relaxing time talking in bed before sleep. Try not to let the bedtime routine become too long. Some children like to have a dim light on and a familiar toy or comforter to help them go to sleep.
Some children normally settle to sleep late. Books and toys in bed may encourage them to settle in their own time. Others may keep themselves awake playing. Do what works best for your child.
If your child comes out of their room, go back and resettle them in a calm, businesslike manner, paying little attention to the crying or debating, then leave the room. You may need to repeat this.
If your child continues to come out or want your attention, you might choose to shut the door (a night light may help if they are afraid of the dark). Explain to them if they stay in bed the door will be open, if they are out of bed the door will be closed.
If your child has problems settling, you may like to tell them you will come back after doing a job (eg putting the washing on), then pop back in. Tell them they are being good for staying in bed and you will come back after doing another job. Gradually increase the time you are away until they are settled or asleep.
Give your child lots of praise when they sleep well. Older children can wake with nightmares or night terrors. Nightmares tend to be more common for children than adults. To help your child go back to sleep, they may like a cuddle and being talked to quietly and reassuringly. After a while they may relax and go back to sleep. Nightmares may be caused by scary TV programmes. Avoiding TV before bedtime may help.
Talk to a Plunket staff member or other well child health provider if you have a concern about your child’s sleep.