5 sleep problems in children: What every parent can do

July 07, 2020
  • “I don't want to go to bed”
    1 / 5 “I don't want to go to bed”

    What happens: Your child creates a fuss when it’s time for bed. She always wants to finish another game before starting her bedtime routine. If you rush her, she bursts out crying.

    What to do: Since you know she is busy in the run-up to bedtime, give her plenty of advanced warning. For instance, you can say, “You’ll have to tidy up in 10 minutes,” then give further warnings five minutes later, and then when there is only one minute to go. Encourage your child to start tidying up after the second warning. Be prepared to speak firmly.

    (Also read: Toddler won’t nap: How to adjust sleep time)

    Load more
  • “I can't sleep”
    2 / 5 “I can't sleep”

    What happens: Although going to bed at the usual time, your child reappears later on, telling you that she can’t sleep. Or she may call out to you that she is still awake. She might even come out of her bedroom.

    What to do: She is probably one of those children who need to unwind at the end of the day before trying to sleep. She may find it helpful to have a story read to her while she lies in bed, or perhaps to listen to music. Soothing activities like these help settle her. It’s important for her to remain in her bedroom even though she is not yet asleep.

    (Also read: Snoring kids: What is obstructive sleep apnea?)

    Load more
  • “I’m afraid of the dark”
    3 / 5 “I’m afraid of the dark”

    What happens: Your child refuses to let you put the bedroom light out and starts to cry when you try to switch it off. You may also hear her get out of bed to click the light back on again after you put it out.

    What to do: There are several alternatives. First, you can fit a dimmer switch to her bedroom light, enabling you to gradually darken her room a little bit more each night. Second, you can have a nightlight to give off a small amount of illumination all the time. Or you could sit with your child until she falls asleep – though that could turn into a habit.

    (Also read: 5 tips to help your child beat her fears)

    Load more
  • “I’ve woken up in the middle of the night”
    4 / 5 “I’ve woken up in the middle of the night”

    What happens: You are fast asleep in the middle on the night, when you suddenly realise your little one is at your bedside, wide awake. She tells you that she can’t get back to sleep and she wants to lie with you.

    What to do: Take her back to bed, give her a quick cuddle, and then leave the room. Resist any temptation to give her food and drink; definitely don’t play a game with her. Your basic strategy should be to reassure your child and return her to her own bed, while making it clear that this is not a time for fun and games. Do this every time she wakes during the night.

    (Also read: 6 ways to get your child to school on time in the morning)

    Load more
  • “I’m having a nightmare”
    5 / 5 “I’m having a nightmare”

    What happens: You hear your young child shouting and crying, but when you enter her room, you see she is fast asleep. The nightmare distresses her, and she might even leave the bed and move about the room with her eyes open.

    What to do: Stay calm, no matter how upset you feel. Speak slowly and calmly to your child and do what you can to soothe her. Do not try to wake her in the hope of stirring her out of the bad dream. In most instances, the nightmare passes without the child ever waking. If she does get out of bed while still sleeping, gently and quietly steer her back to bed.

    (Photos: 123RF.com)

    Load more

The healthiest nuts to eat for gorgeous hair and skin

Why isn’t your child curious? How to develop this important trait

6 ways to stop your child’s thumb-sucking habit

Why is your child naughtier when she’s with you? Ask yourself these 6 questions

10 surprising myths about myopia in kids

Latest stories

Kevin Cheng, Grace Chan welcome second son, a year after they had first child

Pregnancy planning: 7 questions to ask before you have another baby

Lee Teng’s wife after miscarriage: “I wanted to destroy myself”

best food nutrients for breastfeeding mum

What to eat when you are pregnant or breastfeeding