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Parenting Bedtime Battles: How much sleep do kids need a night?

 child sleeping on couch

If you are like me, you may have encountered many nights where your child protests bedtime. How much sleep do kids really need? How do you get your child to sleep at night, sleep in their own bed and sleep through the night? You know, peacefully without a million hugs, bathroom and water breaks, deep questions about life, and coming out of their bedroom every minute for the next hour. Don’t get me wrong I love a good hug. But a mama needs to know she can count on some “me” time as well as time to focus and get things done.

We have a pretty consistent bedtime routine, but nights are varied on how my daughter Zoe actually goes to sleep. Here are some of the sleep battles we have to handle when bedtime comes around…

Parenting Bedtime Battles

Sometimes it’s a full out tantrum sleep battle– like last night. Zoe, who is four years old, threw a very rare tantrum on the floor with kicking and shouting, “I’m not sleepy. I’m not sleepy! I don’t want to go to bed!”  My response, “Um, yes you are.” Fill in the rest of the story with with “frustrated parent speak” and a tag team with the hubby, “Baby, can you take her? I just can’t right now.”

Then there is the gentle and super clever protest. Zoe in her sweetest voice, “Mama, can you come cuddle with me?” My polite response, “Zoe, it’s bedtime now. I already cuddled with you for 30 minutes and we read three stories. Mommies need quiet time too.” “But I’m not sleepy.” “That’s okay,” I say, “You can just lay in your bed and close your eyes.” “But I don’t know how to close my eyes. I don’t close my eyes at night. I’m just different mama. I’m not like everyone else.” My response– baffled silence. How do you respond to that?

My absolute favorite is the “fall asleep in the car because we had such a busy day” bedtime routine. No battles happen here. And I have been guilty of telling my husband to drive around for 5 more minutes before we park, so we can skip the bedtime routine. Am I alone in this one? Mom guilt is slowly sinking in now.

And my not-so-favorite: your child coming out of the bed every few minutes while you are settled for the night ready to watch a movie. This in-and-out of the room wind down just drains my energy. I feel exhausted and defeated.

So we are always on the hunt for a better sleep solution. It’s very important that your child is getting the appropriate amount of sleep. That’s why bedtime routines are important– it ensures your child will get the hours of sleep their growing bodies need.

how to get your child to sleep

How do you get your child to sleep at night?

Come back to visit Family Sponge over the next few weeks as I share my personal experiments on how I get my child to sleep at night. There is not a one size fits all sleep method for children. I believe that experiments are needed to adjust to your child’s sleeping needs and what works best for the whole family.

 

Join the discussion

How many hours do your kids sleep at night? How many hours of sleep do you get? Share your typical bedtime battles with your child and let me know if they are anything like mine.

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3 Responses to Parenting Bedtime Battles: How much sleep do kids need a night?

  1. Ryan hansard April 10, 2012 at 4:16 am #

    The transfer from the car seat to the bed was my favorite bed time move. Bed time used to be such a battle, and still is every once in awhile. As bad as this sounds I have given in to laying down with our two year old until she falls asleep. I’m almost ready for some suggestions but at some point we just need to maintain our sanity.

  2. Julie April 10, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

    Our bedtime routine has been in place forever but still there are nights we have to go down to her cries 2 or 3 times before she finally falls asleep or she’ll wake up for an hour in the middle of the night and just yell for attention.
    We also get up during the night for the toilet which we can’t not do as she’s only just turned 3 yrs old and we don’t want her to wet the bed.
    If we’re lucky she’ll sleep about 10 hours but this can sometimes mean we only get about 6 hours of broken sleep too. I keep telling myself it will all be over soon…. it will be won’t it??

  3. magdalena December 11, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

    bwahahahha 12 -14 hours ??? yeah no. not even close, my 2 year old son goes to bed at 10-11 pm and then wakes at 8 am. refuses to nap during the day – and if he does he will then be awake till 1 am !

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