Sleep Anxiety in Children – 4 Tips to Make a Child’s Bedtime Easier
”It’s so dark here!”
“Please don’t leave!”
“I just can’t sleep, can you stay with me?”
Do you hear any of these phrases at night when you’re putting your child to bed? For a lot of parents, bedtime is a recurring nightmare. Separation anxiety in babies or toddlers at night can be both exhausting and frustrating because it affects everyone in the family. Here are 4 tips about how to make your child’s bedtime easier.
1. Give Signals in Pre-Bedtime Routine
As the evening is drawing near, give your kids some signals that bedtime is approaching. Turning off the TV or putting on white noise in the background can both be useful. Besides, parents can dim the light and do some quiet play with kids. These pre-bed routines can help kids develop associations and prepare themselves for bedtime.
2. Stick to a Regular Bedtime Routine
Children are easily ritualized. If you don’t have a bedtime routine, now it is the time to implement one. Actual bedtime routines can comprise of many relaxing and sleep-promoting activities. Here is a typical bedtime routine:
- A relaxing bath
- Brushing teeth
- Putting on pajamas
- Story time in bed
- Goodnight kisses
There is no “perfect routine”. The key is to make sure it‘s in the same order every night. In this way, kids will gradually love getting ready for bed. What’s more, parents can make the routine fun and kids become active participants. You can complete tasks like “Let’s bring your security blanket in bed before story time and you can get an extra goodnight kiss.”
3. Make Sure Your Child Views Their Bedroom a Safe Place
Is it a place where they can have quiet time if they become over-stimulated? Is it a place where they have some degree of control over their surroundings? As a parent, please make sure that your children’s room is a safe place in their mind. It’s the first step to help kids not to be afraid of going to their own room. It is not a place for punishment, but rather a place where they can recharge, have time to themselves, and set their own boundaries for being around other people. It is decorated in their favorite colors or toys. In this way, they view “going to your room,” even for bedtime, to be a positive thing.
4. Spending Time Listening to Your Child
After you’ve finished your bedtime routine, sit down with your kids and invite them to talk to you about whatever is on their mind, good or bad. Talking can release children’s sense of anxiety. Showing your willingness to listen to your child is absolutely important. They might have a sweet dream rather than a horrible nightmare after they tell parents their worries and concerns.
These 4 tips are about how to deal with separation anxiety in babies and kids at night. Sometimes, security blankets for babies and kids work and can accompany kids through a great night sleep. We hope that these tips can help you and your kids both enjoy bedtime.