Advice for Parents With Kids Who Resist Bedtime & Reasons Why They Won't Sleep
“Why won’t my kid sleep?” This is an age-old question that almost all parents have had, not only with their toddlers but also with their school-age children. Sleep is important for your kid’s health and well-being — depending on their age, they may need up to 14 hours of sleep a day (including naps)!1 The key to a good night’s sleep is helping your kid relax and wind down before bedtime.
Potential Reasons Why Your Child Won’t Go To Sleep
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed trying to get your kid to fall asleep at bedtime, you’re not alone. Many parents struggle with their kids resisting bedtime. Some reasons your kid may not be ready to sleep at night include:1,2
- Using electronics before bed
- Inconsistent bedtime
- Lack of a bedtime routine
- Playing right before bedtime, which can cause restlessness
- Fear of the dark, being alone, or bad nightmares
- Worry or stress
- Being overtired
Advice for Parents: How To Get Your Kids To Go To Sleep at Night
Make bedtime easier by following some of these tips and tricks for how to get your kids to sleep at night. You may have to try a few to find what works best for your family — be sure to stay consistent once you find a bedtime routine to ensure they stick to it.
- Choose a designated bedtime: Choosing a bedtime for your kid and telling them when it’s getting close can help them understand when and why they need to start winding down for the night.
- Take a warm bath at night: A warm, calming bath with Aveeno® Kids 2-in-1 Hydrating Shampoo & Conditioner and Aveeno® Kids Face & Body Wash can help gently wash away dirt from the day without drying their sensitive skin.
- Set up a bedtime routine: Set a bedtime routine for your kid and get them involved in choosing their pajamas, brushing their teeth, and getting into bed. Keep the activities the same each night right before their chosen bedtime.
- Limit electronics: Screens from cell phones, tablets, and televisions emit blue light, which promotes alertness and interferes with circadian rhythm. Set an electronics curfew around one hour before bedtime and limit the use of electronics in their bedroom2.
- Choose calming activities before bed: Playtime and other exciting activities can wind kids up before bedtime. Instead, offer them some calming activities like coloring, puzzles, or bedtime stories.
- Make their bedroom comfortable: Make your kid’s bed comfortable with their favorite blankets and stuffed animals to help them relax. It’s also important to keep their room dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature.
- Avoid overscheduling your kid: With busy days full of school, sports, homework, and family, your kid may be overwhelmed and overtired. Make sure to give them time to wind down and relax in the evening.
- Limit daytime naps: Toddlers and some preschool-age kids need naps throughout the day, but oversleeping can make it harder for them to sleep at night. Experts recommend these age groups have one to two naps per day, around an hour each3.
Keep Bedtime Consistent
Consistency is key when creating a new routine, and this is especially true for bedtime routines. Choosing a bedtime and sticking to it can help your kids learn when it’s time to sleep.
“What time should my kids go to bed?” You can calculate this based on the recommended hours of sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that1:
- Toddlers get 11 to 14 hours of sleep, including naps
- Preschoolers get 10 to 13 hours of sleep, including naps
- Grade schoolers get nine to 12 hours of sleep
Keeping a consistent bedtime routine promotes healthy sleep habits for your kids.
- Healthychildren.org. Healthy Sleep Habits: How Many Hours Does Your Child Need? November 16, 2020. Accessed on January 5, 2023. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/sleep/Pages/healthy-sleep-habits-how-many-hours-does-your-child-need.aspx
- Fry A. How Blue Light Affects Kids’ Sleep. Sleep Foundation. October 18, 2022. Accessed on January 5, 2023. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/children-and-sleep/how-blue-light-affects-kids-sleep
- Nemours KidsHealth. Naps. June 2020. Accessed on January 5, 2023. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/naps.html