How can I speed up the process of getting my child to go to bed at night?

What we like to teach parents to do is to make the sleep routine very short, and call everything else the “evening routine.” This way we separate the sleep routine from all the other activities that go on in the evening.

Ideally, the sleep routine should be no more than 20-30 minutes. This may involve some limit setting, because children often engage in what we call “curtain calls” where they ask for water or another story or say that they’re scared. This type of negotiating is normal – kids want to engage their parents at night – and the best thing that parents can do to signal safety for their child is to set a clear limit in a warm caring manner to establish a routine. Setting those limits actually helps children feel secure, particularly in these times when we’re all feeling insecure. Routine, regularity and limits are all important for children.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel Lewin Daniel S. Lewin, PhD, DABSM is a pediatric psychologist, sleep specialist, and licensed clinical psychologist. He is Board Certified in Sleep Medicine and Behavioral Sleep Medicine and is the Associate Director of the Pediatric Sleep Medicine and Director of the Pulmonary Behavioral Medicine Program at Children’s National and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at George Washington University School of Medicine.

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