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Do you have a sweet 4 year old in the house but who is really giving you hell when it is bedtime?
Well, you’re not alone and below are what other parents like you are doing to win their 4 year old bedtime battles…
4 year old bedtime battles – How to make your son/daughter sleep ASAP
Here are some ideas that I am sure will help you win your son or daughter 4 year old bedtime battles….
Create a conducive environment
First, you need to create a favorable sleeping environment for your child.
That’s because noises are a common sleep thief even for us grown-ups.
Therefore, you should ensure your child’s bedroom is quiet.
In addition, make sure your kid is not too warm when sleeping- If your son or daughter is overheating, they are most likely uncomfortable.
Now, there are others ways you can make the room more pleasant to attract sleep..
For example, instead of using lights that turns off after 30 minutes, switch to using lights that will stay on all night
This may prevent your child from being frightened by darkness and your little one can now sleep all night without waking up.
Come up with a bedtime routine and follow it religiously
It could be time to come up with a bedtime routine – Various studies (Here is one) have shown that kids with sleep difficulties tend to fall asleep faster once they get used to a bedtime routine.
To start with, establish a specific time for your child to start getting ready for bed and please don’t forget to make it clear what time you will switch off the lights.
Go get pajamas on
Night-time snack. You can do family screen-time (for example, an interesting story video game) as they eat
Go to brush teeth.
He/she can then have a glass of water.
Finally, read books with him/her and then tuck them in. You can lay with them for a couple of minutes as well while talking about what happened (that day) or naming things you’re grateful for/looking forward to. You can even discuss what you’d want them to dream about (that night).
Bear in mind that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to a bedtime routine for kids so fashion yours.
Side-note: When creating yours, it’s a good idea to have something fun he/she will be looking forward to after each potential routine item/chore that isn’t fun. For the above example,
snack and screentime are two things to focus on as he/she gets PJ’s on. Likewise, your son/daughter will focus on books while brushing teeth.
Try Healthy Bedtime Habits
Besides, introducing healthy bedtime habits to your baby can be helpful.
Below are some examples:
Skip screen time before bedtime
You may opt not to allow your child to watch TV, play video games, or use the computer within an hour of bedtime.
TV can especially be bad- and I’m saying so because many parents, aunts, and grandparents turn on the TV to help a child fall asleep.
A study found that watching TV actually delays sleep in children.
For that reason, try as much as you can to limit screen time for your loved one before bed.
And if- IF– he/she must watch TV, avoid scary programs.
That’s because watching anything scary on TV before bed can also contribute to nightmares in children.
Did you know that this is one of the best sleep training methods?
More importantly, it often works…
Something very important: Before you try this method, you need to have an idea of how long it takes for your kiddo to sleep after you have switched off the lights.
For example, if your boy or girl sleeps 30 minutes after you have switched off the lights, in between the 30 minutes, try walking out of the room to take a break then you get back.
Do this each day while reducing the interval until the child can sleep all alone without you needing to check up on him/her.
4 year old bedtime battles – More tips
A few more ideas to overcome 4 year old bedtime tantrums..
Avoid telling her/him to get to sleep
That is not physically within their control and pressuring them to fall asleep risks making it harder.
Instead, encourage him/her to just try lying in bed quietly doing something relaxing.
Tell him/her to think about something
Explain to your 4-year-old that thinking about things at bedtime usually tells your brain that is what you exactly want them to dream about.
That means if he/she wants to have some happy dreams, they should start imagining those happy things!
About relaxing things to do (in bed)
Always give your son/daughter something relaxing they will do in bed as he/she tries to fall asleep- it is better than just lying there.
Examples: Looking through a good book, listening to some calming music, listening to a nice audiobook, or, as mentioned above, imagining what they want to dream about.
Try teaching him/her some relaxation techniques (think of deep breathing or even progressive muscle relaxation).
Problem-Solve the Issue Together
Sometimes it is good to have a talk with your son/daughter to know what bothers them to an extent that they struggle to fall asleep.
Now, the most common underlying problem that contributes to bedtime behavior problems is fear.
So, if your kiddo refuses to stay in their own bed, you want to talk to them about the reasons why they get up so many times.
After that, you have to think of solutions…
You could, for instance, try to bring their siblings into their room and let them sleep together if your child tells you they fear sleeping alone in their bedroom.
The point is to ask him/her what he/she thinks would help them feel more comfortable when going to sleep.
They might suggest you be leaving the hall light on, adding some cool glow-in-the-dark stars (to the ceiling), or just you coming by to check on them every 10 minutes until they’re asleep.
You need to be patient with your child, particularly if your child has been sleeping in your bedroom for the last four years.
You see, it might be devastating to make the kid sleep in his or her bedroom all of a sudden.
So you need to make the transition slowly by slowly.
Let your child first take a nap in his or her bedroom for some days.
After that, you can let your child sleep on their own mattress but still in your bedroom for a few nights.
You can finally move him/her to their bedroom.
If your boy or girl calls you out repeatedly, normalize ignoring the little one because the moment you give him/her attention, you will have taught them that yelling for long will make you pay attention.
Also, if you make the mistake of allowing your child to sleep in your bed during the weekends, it might not be easy to convince them to sleep alone in his or her own bedroom during weekdays.
Reward Steps in the right direction
Rewards make kids cooperate very well- and the truth, kids love rewards.
In short, rewarding him/her for any positive response can be an effective way to promote good bedtime behavior.
Example: Kids love playing phone games. You can, therefore, let your boy/girl know that once he or she sleeps without throwing tantrums, you’ll allow them to play their favorite game in the morning.
Seek professional help
Have you tried the above ideas in vain?
If yes, it might be time to seek professional help.
Here is the thing: On occasions, bedtime behavior problems can be a symptom of a bigger issue.
The truth is, some sleep disorders or mental health problems may contribute to bedtime behavior problems in our kids.
To be sure, talk to your pediatrician and see if they can help.
4 year old bedtime battles – final words
Of course, it is very important for your child to get enough sleep (a good night’s sleep is crucial for their overall well-being and health).
We encourage you to try the above tips and see if they’ll help him/her sleep like a log starting tonight.
Also, be sure to seek professional help if nothing changes- the cause of difficulties in sleeping could be medical and you want to act as soon as possible.