I recently had a conversation with a parent, regarding some sleep strategies to help with getting their 3 year old little sprout to sleep at night. When children are sleep deprived it affects their behaviors, attitudes, attention, peer interactions and more! Unfortunately, the more over tired your child gets, the harder it can be to get them down to sleep (you know how unsuccessful it can be to negotiation with an over tired 3 year old).
There may be many factors that play into whether or not your child is sleeping (or not sleeping) well at night. It can range from drinking milk before bed (which is never a good idea for children with reflux or digestive issues) to bathing your child in a temperature that you believe is the best temperature but that may not be warm enough for your child and may in fact wake them up more! The point here is every child is different and you need to look at the whole picture.
In the meantime, here are a few suggestions of things to try to help your little sprout get more shut-eye.
- Setting an earlier bedtime before your little sprout is at the point of being overtired can help. If they usually go to sleep at 7:30pm, try 6:45 or 7:00 to start the routine a bit earlier.
- One thing some of the sleep experts warn against is food and drink at bedtime as they believe it can “reinforce” unwanted behavior (the child delaying sleep, asking for things, is rewarded when they get what they ask for). If it must be included do it as part of step 1 of the going to bed routine, followed by brushing teeth, bath, book.
- And finally a strategy for the “bed-escapers”. You know your child is a bed-escaper if they will get into bed and lay there for a bit and then get up to come out and ask you for milk, a hug, the potty, etc. to delay going to sleep. Try the “bedtime pass”. Just before bed every night your little sprout get’s their “one bedtime pass”. There are only allowed to get out of bed one time and when the pass is used up for that night it’s used up. The trip has to be a quick one with a specific purpose, such as a hug from mommy/daddy, a drink of water, or a visit to the bathroom. Then the next night, repeat. This could take a few weeks to work but it is simple enough to implement and will help your little sprout understand that they need to stay in bed. It’s reported that some kids try to save the pass and fall asleep waiting for their opportunity to use it, almost like a comfort blanket.
Give these strategies a try TONIGHT!
Here’s to a good nights sleep for the whole family!