How to Get Children to Go to Sleep

By Kay Ireland
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No matter what age your kids are, you're bound to experience some resistance around bedtime every now and again. If your kids constantly stay up and have trouble getting to sleep each night, they may not be getting the rest they need for healthy development. The National Sleep Foundation recommends kids, ages 5 to 12, get 10 to 11 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. Help yours get the rest they need by creating calming routines and better sleep schedules.

Step 1

Help your kids get plenty of fresh air and exercise throughout the day, suggests the University of Michigan Health System. One of the reasons your kids may have trouble sleeping could be that they are simply not fatigued enough. Even something as simple as a family soccer game or bike ride a few hours before bed can help tire out your little -- and big -- ones.

Step 2

Limit screen time -- time spent in front of a TV, video gaming system, tablet or computer -- a few hours before bedtime. Medline Plus warns that too much screen time or allowing your kids to have electronics in their room can make it harder for them to get to sleep at night. If your kids have electronics, make sure they're turned off before bedtime and remain off for the rest of the night.

Step 3

Schedule a bedtime routine that begins 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime and includes calming activities like reading books, taking a bath or singing songs. This gives your kids ample time to prep for bed and change from playtime to sleep time to make it easier to fall asleep.

Step 4

Create a bedroom atmosphere that is conducive to restful sleep. Get rid of noisy toys and consider investing in blackout shades to help darken the room for sleep. If your kids complain that household noises are keeping them up, a white noise machine or radio tuned to static can help drown out disturbances.

Step 5

Talk to your kids to see if there's something specific preventing them from getting to sleep at night, suggests parenting expert Maureen Healy in an article for "Psychology Today." Younger children may be afraid of the dark and could use a nightlight. Older kids may have anxiety about school work and need someone to talk to. By finding out the reason and addressing it directly, you might have an easier time come bedtime.

About the Author

Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.