If you’ve got kids, you’ll know many things are stopping your kid from sleeping. Needing a glass of water, another trip to the loo, making sure their cuddly toy has what it needs, pyjamas not feeling right, generally anything to stall having to go to sleep. But there are also a few things that you have control of that can be stopping your kid from sleeping once they are firmly in their beds.
Their environment is too stimulating
A bedroom rammed packed full of toys is not great for a kid trying to sleep. All they can see are all the toys they can play with. As we don’t start to develop any real self-control until around the age of 4 years old (and doesn’t reach maturity until around the age of 25), you can see how this could stop them sleeping, as they are using all their will power to stay in bed.
There’s a TV in their bedroom
Watching TV to go to sleep is a no-no. It’s stimulating and makes bedtime a lot longer than it needs to be. Not only as they want to finish watching what they started but also as it then takes them longer to settle down. If your kid fell asleep watching TV, they won’t sleep well for a few reasons which you can read about in this article.
Their bed, bedclothes, and items in their bed are not suitable for them
We need ample space to move around in bed to get a good nights sleep, and if your kid is regularly banging their feet, arms or anything else on the sides of their bed because it’s too small for them, then this can affect their sleep. Too many stuffed toys or things in their bed also stops them getting a good nights sleep as not only do they restrict the space but retain heat and create associations which you can read about in the next point.
They have unhelpful associations
If your kid plays in their bed or does anything other than sleep in their bed, they will find it difficult to sleep as they associate their bed with other activities. That’s not to say they can’t play in their bedroom. They can, it’s a good idea to discourage them from playing on or in their bed though. Reserve their bed for sleeping only, and they will create a good association with it. An association that as soon as they get into their bed, they know they need to go to sleep.
Their room is too hot
To go to sleep and stay asleep your body needs to drop in temperature a little. Don’t have the heating on overnight as this will make everyone in the house wake up feeling tired and fuzzy. If you need to have the heating on once your kid has gone to bed then turn the radiator off in their bedroom. Also, ensure they have the right bedclothes for the time of year, so they are snug in winter but don’t get too hot. And cool in summer.
They kick their covers off all the time
Kids can move around a lot in their sleep. A baby sleeping bag is a great way to ensure they stay snug enough and don’t get tangled in their bedclothes, which can be dangerous when they are small. If your bigger kid is also still wriggling around and is waking in the night as they kick their covers off, then there are a couple of things you can try.
- Make sure the duvet is big enough that you can tuck it firmly under the mattress at the bottom of the bed and halfway up the bed, so they are not able to kick it off.
- The gro company sleeping bags have some designs that are for up to the age of 10. So you can keep your kid in a sleeping bag that they can’t kick off and they won’t get too hot in until they are less wriggly.
They eat sweets and chocolate close to bedtime
All kids are different. Some eat sweets and chocolate, and they’re bouncing off the ceiling. Others eat it, and they seem entirely unaffected. Either way, refined sugar is a stimulant and stops your kids’ brain from being able to calm down enough for sleep. Chocolate is a double hit as it has caffeine in it too. It takes about 20 minutes for caffeine and refined sugar to take effect and between 2 and 4 hours for it to start leaving your kids system. There are things your kid can eat that will help them sleep well though and help them off into the land of Nod.
Whatever is stopping your kid from sleeping, make sure it isn’t one the seven things above and just that they want to spend more time with you.
Photo by Zach Vessels on Unsplash