My 3 year old will NOT sleep. He keeps coming out of his room and it’s driving me crazy. How can I make him sleep?
Well, you can’t really make him sleep, but you can create an environment that is conducive to sleep.
Start by having a routine and keep it the same almost every night. This will cue the body that it is time for sleep. For example: take a bath, brush teeth, two books, kiss, high five, and walk out.
Keep screen time to a minimum before bed, as it tends to stimulate. Even calmer shows stimulate the brain. It can also cause tantrums when it is time to turn off the T.V. “JUST ONNNEEE MORE SHOWWWWW!!!”
Choose quiet play instead. Coloring, puzzles, blocks. Take a look at bedtime in a different way. Basically, change your end goal. It’s not sleep that you are after – it’s him being quiet in his room. As long as they are in their beds, you still get your time – and that is truly important.
So how to get them to stay in their beds? A book on iTunes (used to be book on tape) can hold your child’s interest while lulling them into sleep. You can snag a light on a timer and let him read on his own for a bit. The idea is that if he is in bed, he will eventually fall asleep. And if there are amusing things keeping him there, he will not pop out again and again.
If he does come out, quietly walk him back. With minimal conversation and not a million hugs and kisses. I know you are thinking, “WHATTT?? No snuggles? That’s just cruel.” It sounds and is tough, but if there are a million snuggles or book readings or long conversations, you are incentivizing these bedroom breakouts. Give one kiss, say I love you, and close the door.
Change does not happen overnight. Stay clear and consistent, and you will have a sleeping child and some time to yourself. Give these a try and let me know how it goes.
Brandi Davis, ACC, is a professional Parenting Coach, Parent Educator, and Author of O.K. I’m A Parent Now What? She can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and be sure to catch her parenting podcasts on iTunes. The goal of Brandi’s practice is to bring respect, calm communication, teamwork, and FUN into the home or classroom. To discover all that Child and Family Coaching can bring to your family stop by www.childandfamilycoaching.com.
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