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If your child is taking more than an hour to fall asleep after your chosen bedtime, you may find that trying to put your child to bed at the earlier time results in bedtime struggles. For some children it is best to gradually make their bedtime earlier, starting at the time they are naturally tired and ready for bed.
Setting a suitable bedtime
A good strategy for changing your child’s bedtime is Bedtime Fading:
- Work out when your child is naturally falling asleep and set this as the temporary bedtime. For example, if you want your child to go to bed at 8:30pm, but they usually do not fall asleep until 10:00pm, choose 10:00pm as the temporary bedtime.
- Once they are falling asleep easily and quickly at this temporary bedtime then make their bedtime earlier by 15 minutes.
- When they are falling asleep easily and quickly at this new bedtime then bring it forward by another 15 minutes.
- Keep on doing this until you have reached the bedtime you want (for example, 8:30pm).
Be patient. If you move bedtime too quickly, your child may be unable to fall asleep.
Eg, Mawsons bedtime
Get morning light
Morning light also helps set an earlier bedtime and helps keep the body clock on the right track. Open the curtains in the bedroom, eat breakfast in a sunny area, or spend some time outdoors.
Keep trying for a number of nights, and encourage others caring for your child to use the same strategies. Being consistent will increase your chances of success with improving your child’s sleep patterns.Download pdf