Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by kellychuck27, Apr 16, 2012.
why does my five year old not sleep and how do i get him to go to bed at night
Can you tell us more about your child?
Not sleeping well is a challenge, because WE get exhausted and need a break.
A routine helps. If you establish a good bed-time routine and there are no other underlying problems, this should work. But it takes time and persistence. Also, observe what happens anyway, you may already have some sort of routine in place without realising, that you can enhance.
Some things to focus on:
1) Avoid exposure to sources of light after about 6 pm (or earlier, if you want an earlier bedtime). That means no TV, DEFINITELY no computer, game console, ebook reader or similar. If you have dimmer switches, drop the light level a little. Or turn off the overhead fluorescents and put on a floor lamp instead.
2) Early dinner then bath. Warm bath. Towel him dry afterwards, have a bathtime routine. We used to towel dry the kids, put powder on them, help them dress in their pyjamas.
3) Snuggle in bed with a book - let them read with a bed lamp or have a night light (I know, I said reduce light sources but a night light is important for some kids). Read a book together.
4) Kiss the child goodnight then leave the room.
Something also to avoid - any games that are stimulating. In other words, avoid boisterous games before bedtime. No running, no jumping, no tickle games. C A L M...
The above is not going to work perfectly right away. But it's a start. You might need more books, for example, then begin to wean back on the number of books. Or choose books which are a little more advanced than he would read himself. I remember my nephew read "Little House on the Prairie" when he was 5 years old. If the book is read to him, it is easier to increase the intellectual level a little. Go for children's classics but do make sure you read them well. Put expression into it, enjoy it as much as you can. The slightly higher language level will stimulate the child academically (a good stimulation before bedtime) but mostly, will speed up his going to sleep. You will work out with trial and error, what level works for your child. If he falls asleep while you're reading, that is great!
My sister used to read Winnie-the-Pooh to her son from infancy. I thought she was nuts. But he grew up loving those books and now reads them to his own kids.
Marguerite has some great advice for a bedtime routine. Another thing I thought of was the 'Supernanny' method. I can remember her doing this with kids and it can be a battle for the first few nights but it seemed to work for her....
1) Do the bedtime routine and tuck the child into bed.
2) When the child gets up the first time - say "It's time for bed. Goodnight." Put the child back into bed.
3) Sit outside the bedroom door or just inside the door if necessary and every time the child gets up/comes out of the room after that you pick them up, put them back to bed - but she had the parents stay silent. (The child has already been told it's bedtime)
4) Continue putting the child back to bed silently until they finally give up. I saw some parents do this for hours the first night and they were absolutely exhausted - but, the child went to bed and after a couple of nights - no more problems. The key is not to give in.
Another thing, like MWM said, it definitely would help if you could give more information on your child and his circumstances and/or diagnosis.
What worked for us, miraculously, was we had a set routine for bedtime - bath, reading a book to him, tucking him in, nightlight on. thank you at 5 rarely would stay in bed but somehow we got across the point that at bedtime he had to stay in his room. He could read in bed (he was a voracious reader) or play *quietly* with toys, but that was it. I honestly can't tell you why, but it's probably the only rule he followed until he was... 19???
Takes time to establish routine, and then you have got to be completely consistent with it - no exceptions. Doesn't work for all, but definitely worth a try.
I have found that the biggest problem is often (don't laugh, please) the parents. Like the others "schedule" is the paramount factor and as a result it means parents have to follow a schedule too. One of my adult daughters thinks it's "too boring" to preplan meals, eat dinner at the same time, etc. Therefore her out of control daughter frequently does not get home from "running errands" until what would ordinarily be bedtime. That just doesn't work. Funny thing is that my gd manages just fine to help set the table, wash her hands, eat dinner, help clean up etc. etc. with no hassle at my house and at the houses of friends.
I admit my household was borning. on the other hand even super hyperkinetic GFGmom by the age of four stayed in her bedroom for the night. It took me about that long to figure out how to change the tempo of the house, lower the noise level, reduce the light level etc. Fingers crossed you will be able to come up with a plan that works best for your family. DDD
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