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What to do When Your Child Fights Bedtime?

Children take up so much of our concentration day and night.  You are concerned about what they watch on TV, who they play with, where they go to Mother’s Day Out, pre-School and the list goes on and on!  But one real concern is when our children don’t readily fall asleep at night.  They fight, struggle and pitch a fit, but don’t go to sleep.  We had dreams of rocking our sweet children to sleep, humming lullabies or reading bed-time stories to bath-time clean babies.  What went wrong?                          Bed     First you need to make certain that your child is not ill.  A quick check-up with your pediatrician will set your mind at ease.  Once the Dr says they are well, look for other reasons for the night owl in your life. 

Are they eating late in the evening?  Sugary or caffeine laden foods?  Sugar and Caffeine hide in food and both work against a gentle bedtime.  Read the labels and do some research to keep the extra sugar and caffeine out of your child’s diet.  According to Neuroscience for Kids, caffeine has many names.  Look for these when reading those labels.  Look for:  3,7-dihydro-1,3,7-trimethyl-1H-purine-2,6,-dione OR 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine .

Now that you have ruled out sugary food and caffeine, move on to setting up a regular Routine at bedtime.  Bath time needs to be calm and quiet, with warm water, not hot.  Let your child start to understand that this is a time to calm down and let go of the excitement of the day.  Set the mood with light calming music.  And most of all You need to remain CALM!  If you get frustrated, angry, wound-up and fussy,  your child learns to do the same kind of behavior.  So stay calm, use your inside voice!

Use this Bath Time to brush teeth, put on their favorite PJ’s, read a favorite story, or tell them a story and tuck them in bed with a favorite stuffed animal or doll.  Use massage and rocking to calm the child to help establish a quiet time routine.  Whatever you do, Stick to your routine.   You will both appreciate the quiet time and be ready for sleep yourself.

Now I am ready for a good night’ s sleep.  It is my hope that you and your little ones are ready too!  Good Night…


  1. Helen says:

    My child used to fight bedtime, she was always wanting to stay up with the adults till the wee hours of the night. Now as an adult she is a night owl!

  2. Anne says:

    Great post! I have a grandson (9 YO) who we learned early on not to rev up close to bedtime. One of the things that works best for him is reading a book or so, then he listens to soft classical music.

  3. Adriana says:

    thanks for share!

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  4. Adriana says:

    thanks for share!

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

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