You struggle with sending your kid to sleep every day? You are not alone. At all. Personal experience moment: before having a kid, I used to look at my cat sleep and think “so boring… my cat is always sleeping, I want to play with him”. Now I have a child and I just wish he were a bit more like my dear cat.
Anyway, let’s start off with the basics…
How many hours of sleep does my kid need?
Well, the amount of hours a kid needs to sleep varies by age –and by source –, but it can be summed up with “more than they would like to sleep”:
- 0-3 months old: 14 to 17 hours/day –pretty much like a cat
- 4-11 months old: 12 to 15 hours/day
- 1-2 years old: 11 to 14 hours/day
- 2-3 years old: 10 to 13 hours/day
- 6-13 years old: 9 to 11 hours/day
- 14-17 years old: 8 to 10 hours/day
Ok, so now this part is clear, let’s move onto the serious stuff:
Why on Earth doesn’t my kid want to sleep?
Sleeping is the best, but that’s something you only realise when you become an adult and getting up VERY early is an obligation, specially when you have a baby and sleep deprivation becomes a very tangible reality.
If your kid is a completely normal kid and, therefore, doesn’t want to go to bed, keep reading, our suggestions might be helpful. With special emphasis on the “might”. Each kid is different, so what’s worked with ours doesn’t necessarily have to work with yours. That’s why we give you 9 tips and not only one, to make sure something finally makes your kid sleep like the baby you wish they still were.
1. This magic book
So apparently, there’s a magic book, called The Rabbit Who Wants to Sleep, written by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin, a behavioural psychologist and linguist from Sweden, that makes kids fall asleep peacefully and without major conflict.
To make it work, you have to follow some instructions provided by the author, like yawning frequently or reading the words written in italic in a more calm and relaxing voice.
2. Start ASAP
If you don’t wait for your baby to be asleep before you lay them down, they will get used to falling asleep without you holding or rocking them. Think of it as a long-term investment.
3. Be super boring
This works specially well with babies. We didn’t want to use this parallelism BUT we will. Babies are a bit like dogs: if you are calm, they won’t find a reason to be excited. But if they see you full of energy, they will feel like it’s play time, even if it’s 3am in the morning.
Look boring, BE boring, and they won’t have a reason to cry for your attention in the middle of the night.
4. Create a routine
Bath time, dinner, brushing their teeth, reading a story… if your kid goes through this routine every day, bedtime won’t take them by surprise.
5. Believe in the power of white noise
The old fan trick. Turning on a fan will drown out other noises, helping your kid sleep more easily. If you don’t want to leave an actual fan on the whole night, you can get a white noise machine that can reproduce a range of fan sounds as well as some natural ambient noises (like rain).
6. Check out for monsters
Kids have a very vivid imagination; their room can be the home of unimaginable monsters and fantastic yet horrifying creatures. So, in many cases, all you need is a bit of patience. Take them to bed, and check out all the corners of their room to make sure they are not hiding abominable creatures. You can even spray some water around and tell them it’s a magic potion that repels monsters. This will make your kid feel a lot safer and, therefore, will help them sleep.
7. “You can’t always get what you want”
Kids know how to get things, they are tiny clever creatures. They will begin by stretching the bedtime moment with (kind of) legit requests; and you will fall for them, because they are totally adorable. Thing is that, when they get used to being in charge and you try to take that privilege from them, the doors of hell open and your totally adorable kid becomes something similar to the monsters they were afraid of.
The best way to avoid this is to stand your ground from the very beginning, making it clear to your kid that you are lovely and nice, but once you put them to bed, you don’t exist anymore.
If you think you’ve already given them more power than they can handle, we recommend you stretch the times between the moment they start to call your attention and the actual moment when you appear in their bedroom. They will just get tired of calling for you.
8. Lie. Lie blatantly
Yeah… this piece of advice might sound familiar, we’ve used it before, and we are not proud BUT keep reading:
Personal story moment: my mum used to put me to bed and tell me she had to do something quickly and then she’d be back. I’d fall asleep waiting. The following day, she would tell me she had come. And I believed her, because I was a very naive girl. One day, I told her my kid never wants to sleep and she said “do what I did with you” and told me the ugly truth.
But Goooood it woooooorks.
9. “Aren’t you old enough already?”
Your little kid loves you, they can’t get enough of you. And believe us, at some point you will miss that. But that moment is yet to come.
When they call for your attention, look at them in a very condescending way and say “aren’t you old enough already?“. We all know kids want to be treated as adults, so by saying this you are hitting a sensitive area. Their pride will do the rest.?
And this is all! Since every kid is different, we’d love it if you shared that little trick that works with your kid! And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to check out all our posts and news!