How to Get Your Child to Stay in Bed

stay in bed

As adults, we can struggle ourselves with laying down and going to sleep. Our minds and bodies can often disagree with our desire for a good night’s sleep. Kids are no different. After a full day they, too, struggle to get their minds and bodies to settle down and go to sleep. It’s also a time of separation from others. Immature minds and emotions need guidance to settle into rest.

Here are some practical tips to help your child stay in bed.

Ask yourself: Why are they getting out of bed in the first place? What is it communicating?

My body won’t stop moving.

A couple of reasons for the wiggles might be: 1) They have been too sedentary all day and now their bodies aren’t tired. Make sure they’ve had time doing physical activity like jumping on a trampoline, karate class, or chasing the dog around the yard. Tired bodies want to sleep. 2) They’ve been too physically active right before bed. It takes kids awhile to settle down after physical activity. Time the above actions before dinner to give them time to settle back down.

My mind won’t be quiet.

We all know that one. You finally get your head on the pillow but your mind has decided it’s the perfect time to balance your budget. Kid’s minds do the same thing. Help your child quiet their mind two ways: 1) Give your kids fifteen minutes of your undivided attention early in the evening to tell you all about their day {Tweet This} and what they’re thinking about. Help them solve any problems they need help with. 2) Practice soothing bedtime rituals beginning an hour before time for sleep. A bath, story, soothing music instead of TV, no video games, no screen time, rocking in a chair together, and/or singing lullabies together make for a peaceful sleep.

The atmosphere in my house is chaotic.

Reserve conflict for earlier in the day if possible. Take older children to another part of the house to resolve conflict with them so the younger ones don’t feel agitated. Pick a better time for conflict with your spouse or take it somewhere your little ones won’t hear. Children have a difficult time processing conflict. They tense up and feel it as if it is theirs. Keep your own stress in check at bedtime and reserve your own processing of it for when they’re settled in for bed and you’re out of sight.

I don’t like being told what to do.

Nobody likes being told what to do and forced into things they don’t want to do. Kids will try everything they can to push back. Help them feel like they have some choices around bedtime so they will cooperate more with the non-negotiables. Give them little choices like what toys to have in the tub, which story to read, or which pajamas to wear. And to keep them from the repeated getting up to request something give them three things of their choice they can take to bed. Some ideas might be a non-spill cup of water, favorite toy, or picture of mommy for when they miss you while you’re in the other room. Tell them that once they’re in bed they can’t get out of it so choose your objects wisely.

What are some other soothing bedtime rituals you can implement with your kids?