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How I helped my 3-year old to fall asleep and stay asleep

Putting a 3-year-old child to sleep is not at all an easy task for parents. Children do not want to sleep when they are told to but, it is important to get them to sleep at a fixed bedtime. It is also important to make sure that they get a good night’s sleep. The only way to ensure that is to by stopping them from getting up in the middle night.

A good night’s sleep for your 3-year-old can go a long way. It is a habit that will stick with them even when they are not toddlers anymore. But, these young kids will fight their bedtime in whatever way possible.

Before we decide how to put an end to this problem, let us get to the roots of it and understand why 3-year-old kids do not want to fall asleep.

Most children hate bedtimes and will do anything in their power to stay up late.

Here are some of the reasons why your 3-year-old child refuses to fall asleep on time:

  1. Your 3 year old is not tired enough to sleep. Make sure they are exhausted before bedtime.

It is pointless to reinforce a bedtime for your 3 year old, especially if they are not tired at all. Most children tend to display quite a lot of energy right before going to bed. Even if you manage to get them to bed, they are likely to get up after some time. The best way to deal with this problem is by cutting down on their naptime during the day. Keep them physically active throughout the day and do not let them sleep during the afternoon for more than an hour and a half. If you do that, they will be exhausted by the time you put them to bed and fall asleep soon enough.

2. Maintain a calm and silent environment around their sleeping area:

Most children tend to imitate adults. They too want to stay up late and be like adults. Especially, if there is a lot of noise and laughter around. If anyone is watching TV or listening to music, make sure the volume is turned down. Otherwise, your child will be curious about what is going on outside their bedroom and would want to be a part of it. They will feel like they are missing out on something fun.

In such cases, toddlers are very likely to throw a tantrum and put their foot down and not fall asleep. You do not want that kind of energy in your child right before bed. That is why it is important to maintain a quiet environment in your home during their bedtime. This will automatically make them feel calm, drowsy. and ready for bed.

3. Avoid energetic activity right before bed:

If your child is doing something they like right before going to bed and you stop them halfway, it will probably keep them up for a considerable time. They will be annoyed and will want to stay up to finish whatever they were doing. That is why, it is best to avoid energetic, fun activity right before bed. Do not play games or have them run around during that time because, if your child is in the middle of an activity, it is very difficult to calm them down immediately. They will not feel ready to go to sleep.

The best way to make your toddler ready for bed is by calming them down almost an hour before their bedtime.

4. Avoid fast paced or loud music before bedtime

Loud music right before bedtime will make their brain feel active and energetic. It is best to not let your child around such music right before their bedtime.

What to do to make sure your 3-year-old fall asleep on time?

  1. Read to them:

Bedtime stories are an excellent medium to calm your child’s mind down and make them feel sleepy. It will also make a habit of reading storybooks from an early age. Read to them whatever story they like in a calm and soothing voice. Sometimes, running your hand in your child’s hair in a periodic motion makes them release whatever pent up energy they are holding onto. That will make them fall asleep faster.

2. Sing a lullaby:

While bedtime story works for most 3 year olds, sometimes they get too excited about it and will want more and more from you. This might be an early sign of a bookworm but it might be a terrible idea as a part of their bedtime ritual. Instead, sing a lullaby they like to hear. Most kids have a favorite and it might be a good idea to stick to that. Eventually, your child will start associating that lullaby with their bedtime and will easily fall asleep to it.

3. Make sure your child is content:

Before you get your child to bed, talk to them. Ask them if they want anything, maybe a plushie or a glass of water or milk. If they want to play or do something that will push back their bedtime, let them know that they will do that thing the first thing in the morning. Assure them that by going to bed, they are not missing out on anything. It is important to ease your child’s mind before putting them to bed. It will guarantee an interrupted, peaceful sleep.

4. Stay with them until they fall asleep:

Most children do not fall asleep on their own. Sometimes, they get scared of the dark. So, stay with them until they are fast asleep. It will ease their fear and make them feel safe and peaceful. Such a condition is ideal for children to fall asleep to.

5. Turn down all the bright lights:

Most children sleep better in a dark room. However, your 3 years old might be scared of darkness as most children are. But, having a bright light on in their room might be seriously hampering their sleep. The best way to deal with it is by having a night light on. You can even put fairy lights on in their room.

These are some of the ways in which you can make sure that your 3 year old falls asleep on time. If you follow the above-mentioned strategies, it is very unlikely for them to get up in the middle of the night. However, if your child has a tendency to get up and wake you up in the middle of the night, then here are some of the things you can do about it:

  1. Ask them what they need and be prepared.

If your child is getting up at night, ask them what it is they need in the middle of the night. The usual reasons are probably that they need to pee, or need some water, or want their favorite soft toy in bed with them. From the next day onwards, be prepared. Make sure your child is well hydrated and peed before bed. Get them their favorite soft toy and nicely tuck them in bed. In this way, your child will probably have no excuse to get up at night. Keep a bottle of water at their bedside, just in case.

If your child starts getting up, even after they have everything they need. Be alert and immediately put them back to bed. If necessary, put them back to bed multiple times. Do not entertain it and simply tell them, whatever it is they need, you will deal with it in the morning. Eventually, your child will give up and will not get up in the middle of the night.

However, it is important to give them the proper attention and care if they are getting up in the middle of the night because of a nightmare. Listen to them and take them seriously about what is bothering them in their sleep. If necessary, sleep with them for a couple of days to stop the nightmares. Making your kid feel safe and secure is the most important thing. If bad dreams are a regular occurrence, please seek professional help. A good and uninterrupted night’s sleep is a staple for the growth and healthy development of every 3 year old. It should be a priority for every parent. So do not give in to the whims of your child and go to every length to make sure they sleep on time and sleep through the night.

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