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How To Get a Child To Sleep Through the Night

Children need a balance between activity and rest, which might mean routines and habits that aren't fun for either of you. But it's all about their welfare, and you might enjoy a little sleep too.


  • Step 1: Set boundaries for a wandering child by installing a baby gate to their room's threshold -- for safety and for learning that this is their space.
  • Step 2: Have incentives for staying in bed -- reward them with treats or freedoms.
  • Step 3: Run a fan or vaporizer in the room to soothe them and to block other noises. Remove electronic devices, including a TV.
  • Step 4: Consult with the family physician about your child's sleep patterns to get their insight. Snoring, nightmares, daytime diet, and other signs might indicate a medical problem.
  • FACT: Children of school age need nine to 12 hours of sleep.
  • TIP: Phase out sleep aids like pacifiers and teddy bears gradually. An abrupt change can result in unnecessary sleep problems. Keep their beds free of toys that can distract them from going to sleep.
  • Step 5: Find out what the problem is and consider their feelings. Conducting a closet search for monsters if you have to.
  • TIP: Consistency is the key: don't go back on your word or give up just because they're crying, which can create false expectations.
  • Step 6: Return the child to bed immediately if they get out to stall, complain, or ask for things. Discussion should be on your terms and by your rules, not theirs.
  • TIP: Avoid juice, caffeine, and snacks after dinner that can rev them up.
  • Step 7: Leave the room right away rather than laying down with them. If you're there, they'll stay awake longer and may convince themselves that they can't sleep without you present.
  • Step 8: Insist on an active day and enforce 30 minutes or more of wind-down time before bed. Get the child to bed at the same time with the same routines and include a comforting story.

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