Tired voice and bruises under her eyes – Margarita despaired of waiting for a good night. Her two-year-old son Stepan does not want to fall asleep alone. “I do not know how to handle this situation. We sit next to his bed until he falls asleep, and then tiptoe out of the room.
But in the middle of the night he wakes up, and everything starts over again! When this is repeated for the third time, we take him to his bed to get some sleep. ” Restless sleep is one of the main problems with which parents seek advice from child psychologists.
Every evening, restless children and tired adults confront each other in an endless battle in which both of them are the losers. But is refusal always to go to bed – just a whim?
Not. Growing up is not so easy, and at night there are big and small problems in the development of the child.
At the end of the second year of life, the child already knows a lot – he walks, says, knows the rules of personal hygiene. All these new knowledge and skills have a huge impact on the child’s psyche, change it, and this may affect the quality of his sleep.
Sometimes the quality of sleep and the laying procedure are affected by any changes in the daily rhythm of children’s life, such as relocation or changing family composition. The child must somehow cope with the experiences of the past day, sometimes he feels anxiety or fear. Our children often get sick, and problems like fever or stuffy nose, for example, also cause discord in the evening dressing procedure.
But all these reasons, which are rooted in the child itself or in external circumstances, are temporary and do not continue for a long time, life enters again. However, it happens that the child is healthy, there are no changes in the family, and the problem of getting to bed every day becomes more acute. Then we can assume that the reason lies in the other.
A more common problem is our own insecurity and indecision.
Make the child fall asleep. The task of the parents is to make the baby want to go to sleep.
Why does this uncertainty appear in us, our parents? “Pity for the kid and the feeling of his own guilt is a bitter cocktail,” child psychologist L. Obraztsova responds about this problem. “In each of those cases when there is a problem with sleep, you should try to eliminate the cause — and it most likely lies not in the child, but in the features of your relationship with him.” If the family fails to establish a clear daily routine, this is because the little rebel does not meet with a worthy rebuff.
Or the requirements of adults are not always clear to him. Many parents, even without realizing it, can hardly tear themselves away from the child in the evenings.
We work a lot and see little of our child. When we return home late from work, we have too little time to chat with him or play. That is why when a child does not want to go to bed, we feel guilty and do not show proper firmness.
Sometimes a source of uncertainty lies in our childhood memories, in those fears that we experienced at a young age: the fear of darkness, loneliness or the monsters seated under the bed. We are afraid to injure the child, leaving him in the crib alone. Finally, restless nights provide an opportunity to distance themselves from their own adult problems, which often arise between a husband and wife.
We do not want to go back to the kitchen where the spouse is sitting, we avoid unpleasant conversations, reproaches, and discussion of problems. After the birth of a child, the level of partners’ sexuality decreases due to fatigue, illness, or protracted conflicts.
This is also one of the reasons. We delay the moment when we need to go to our own bedroom.
We sluggishly protest when a child climbs into our bed – this is a good excuse to avoid intimacy, to which we are not too eager.
- Get rid of the false sense of guilt that makes you forget about true priorities. The importance of childhood sleep is something that should come first in our mind. Explain to the baby that sleep is necessary for his normal growth. If children do not sleep well, they are sick more often and do not grow well. Today you almost did not see your child? You’ll catch up on the weekend! But the missed dream does not fill.
- Set for a child a clear sleep pattern, do not fall for his tears. When we understand what is really important for him, it is easier for us to approve new rules: “It can no longer continue!” Of course, your words must be supported by action: faced with child’s protests, you must remain adamant. But this does not exclude neither tenderness nor softness. If a child reads insecurity in the eyes of parents whenever it comes time to sleep, he will use all his reserves and strength to prevent unwanted changes.
- It is necessary to show perseverance, to make it clear to the baby that you are determined. You can promise the child that sometimes, say, on Saturdays, he will be able to fall asleep later or lie in bed with mom and dad. A baby’s protest may be partly due to lack of attention during the day, it may lack physical contact and communication. One day allotted so that the child can soak in bed with his parents can compensate for this.
Also, we should not forget about our own rest and sleep. It is the lack of sleep that largely determines the presence of our emotional and physical strength. This, in turn, affects our marital relationships and relationships with children.
The main thing is not to stray from the course, including at night: if the child has begun to cry, you need to go and check whether something serious has happened. But do not stay long.
Convince him that everything is in order, and leave. The baby now and then gets out of bed and comes to your bedroom?
Do not despair, just immediately take the child to his room, gently, but not allowing any objections: “We are here, we are not going anywhere. And you should stay in the crib. “
If the child feels powerful resistance and that his parents remain calm at the same time, he will eventually stop his nightly visits, which are still no use. Too difficult task?
Of course. But the game is worth the candle.
A well-sleeping baby is not so irritable during the day. Rested adult – more patient.
Good sleep affects both our own positive attitude and the whole atmosphere in the family. And quiet evenings that you will have, use to strengthen family ties and communicate with each other.
In the process of teaching a child to sleep in his bed, hardness and consistency on the part of both parents is important.
Sleep is not something that a child can be forced to do. Sleep should come to him naturally.
Our task is to create conditions that make the dream attractive, and to develop a system of signs that give the child to understand that it is time for him to sleep. Try to stick with just three components of a successful sleep transition.
Try to create an atmosphere conducive to rest. This is the best way to instill a healthy attitude to sleep in your baby. Have patience: learning a peaceful and organized bedtime will gradually bear fruit.
To begin, let’s set two rules: never make a room for punishment out of a bedroom, and also not to arrange bedding before bedtime about behavior in kindergarten or uncleaned toys, otherwise the kid will not soon begin to perceive the laying procedure as a pleasure. You will agree that it is unlikely for a crumb to love the time to go to sleep if his parents during this period become especially strict and evil.
Do not interrupt his daytime sleep and do not exclude him from the regime under the pretext that he will sleep better at night. Too overtired child becomes irritable and sleeps restlessly.
Establish a strict bedtime ritual. He should prepare the child for the upcoming laying and not be made in a hurry, with the use of endless instructions and haste.
Over time, the baby will know the daily routine and sequence of actions leading to night rest.
The stage of preparing for bed should begin at least an hour before sleep itself. Change the atmosphere, stop active games.
If the dad who came home from work rushes to play with the child before bedtime, offer quiet board games. Then you can bathe the child, but only under the condition that bathing does not excite, but soothes your baby.
If, after playing in the water, the peanut is again ready for battle, it is better to limit yourself to washing and brushing your teeth. After that, re-dress the child in pajamas or nightgown.
Such clothes should be associated with sleep, do not allow the child to walk around the house all weekend in her and play in the bedroom, not changing clothes after sleep.
Put in the children’s bedroom a large soft chair. It is an attribute that inspires peace, saves from fears, mom or dad always sit in it to talk with the baby about how his day was, answer all his questions or read a fairy tale before going to bed.
Friendly evening conversations are the best way to put your baby on the bed and save him from possible anxieties that prevent him from falling asleep. Do not rush to close the door behind you, set aside 15–20 minutes to communicate with the baby, do not be distracted by the thought that at 21.00 the show begins or that you have compote on the stove. But if you are deprived of this opportunity and are too tired, try recording a lullaby in your performance and, when leaving, turn on the recording.
The final stage of laying – the wish of good night and a gentle farewell. Gentle massage or stroking on the back can help, many children love it when they are tucked into a blanket – this creates a feeling of comfort and security. It is necessary that the baby is accustomed to fall asleep without you.
If he is afraid of the dark, buy a small night light, hang up flashing Christmas lights, or install a door with a glass insert in the nursery so that light from the corridor lights up the child’s room.
Avoid the endless goodbyes that make your presence a must. If your baby starts crying after you leave, do not rush to immediately return to the nursery.
Maybe he will calm down himself and fall asleep. If your baby continues to cry and does not fall asleep, go to the bedroom, sit down on the edge of the bed and ask the child what is bothering him, why he is not sleeping. But try not to take him in your arms and not to fulfill his whims, stroke him and promise to see you in the morning.
Determine for yourself how many times you are ready to go into the nursery for the evening (taking into account changes in the situation – such as illness, relocation, etc.). For example, at 1.5 years, we can allow 1–2 returns to the bedroom.
Everything else is an excessive whim. The third time, go in, only to find out what happened this time, be emotionally restrained, answer shortly and leave the room.
If the child does not want to sleep, do not insist, let him listen to a little music in a room with dim lights or quietly look through the book until his eyes start to stick together. The main condition – the baby should stay in the crib.
Different children have different temperaments, and each family has its own characteristics. The task is to find such an approach that will seem right to you and will satisfy your requirements, the needs of the baby and be consistent with your lifestyle.
And if he justifies himself, stick to him, if not – look further.