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10 Surefire Solutions to End the Bedtime Battle

Fix your child’s bedtime routine once and for all.

How to Set the Scene and Create the Ritual for a Peaceful 'Good Night' continued...

Create a Comfortable Sleep Environment

Particularly for older kids, keep distractions out of the bedroom, Shu says. Electronics like TVs, video games, cell phones, and computers are sleep distractions and can be hard to control once you close the bedroom door.

Teach Your Kids to Fall Asleep on Their Own

Every parent knows this is the hardest job of all. But most sleep problems stem from this inability. Children associate certain conditions with being asleep, Waldburger says. During their lighter sleep phases, they will subconsciously check their environment for the same conditions they went to sleep with. If you were there when they fell asleep, they think you need to be there when they wake.

"The reason children wake up is not the issue," Long says. "The issue is learning to fall back to sleep on their own."

If children learn to fall asleep on their own, Shu says, then they'll be able to put themselves to sleep that way -- without waking you -- when they wake up in the middle of the night.

Be Consistent

When dealing with a sleep problem, many parents will do the same thing for several nights trying to create consistency and then fall off. Sometimes, something comes up. Sometimes, the child has just been crying one minute too long and a parent gives in.

"The consistency in their response to their child is the key," Waldburger says. "It's like the slot machine effect, she says. Put in a quarter, get nothing. Put in a quarter, get nothing. Put in a quarter, get $50. Yeah, the child thinks. I'm going to try that again."

She says it usually  takes more than one night to adjust to change. "But the consistency in your response," she says, "will get your result more quickly. It is critical to minimizing the child's frustration and get through the process quickly."

"It doesn't matter how far you've gotten off track," Waldburger says. "Just be consistent. Once you've set the boundary, kids relax into it."

Reviewed on December 02, 2012
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