Why does my child take longer to fall asleep when I have somewhere to go??

2013-03-05_21-18-43_377Have you found this with your child?  They may fall asleep decently at bedtime, but the night you have somewhere to go after bedtime, or something you need to do, they take so long!   It’s like they know you are in a rush, and in a way, they do.

Think back to the last time this happened – were you rushing just a little more than normal?  Did you rush through that bedtime story and keep looking at the clock?  Did you not spend quite as much time on the bedtime routine?  Were you just a bit stressed?  Your child can pick up on those things.  They do not know why things are different, but they know they are, even if it is just your mood or stress level.  Children crave a consistent routine, and when things are different, even by a little bit, they notice and if affects them.  So they may take longer to fall asleep, which then causes you to be more stressed and rushed and then causes them to notice more changes and take longer to fall asleep!

So, how do we avoid this?  Planning is a good start.  If you know you need to be done with bedtime a little earlier, start it a little earlier.  And relax.  Try to be as calm and relaxed as you normally are.  Do some deep breathing before bedtime.  Or, if you can, have someone else do bedtime.  If you are going out and are having a babysitter, maybe they would be willing to do bedtime if you think your child would accept them.

Good luck!

Do you have other ways to make bedtime calm on a night that is not normal?


by Michelle Winters
SleepWell Sleep Solutions



8 Thoughts on “Why does my child take longer to fall asleep when I have somewhere to go??

  1. congratulations for the excellent text

  2. I have recently started a website, the information you offer on this site has helped me tremendously. Thanks for all of your time & work. “The inner fire is the most important thing mankind possesses.” by Edith Sodergran.

  3. Murphy’s law of parenting!

    In all seriousness, I think it must be because of something you touched on…they can sense our nervous energy.

  4. When my son was a baby he wouldn’t go to sleep until 4 or 5 AM. I couldn’t do it with working and going to school. My ex had to stay up with him but I don’t know what made him finally sleep. Now, when my son’s with me on the weekends he’ll just fall asleep whenever he’s tired, wherever he is.

  5. You are so right. Kids react, consciously or unconsciously, to the nonverbal cues their parents send about rushing, conflict, love, hate, hope, healing, and almost everything else. It happens all the time, including, of course, bedtime.

  6. I’ve noticed this, and I always try to keep everything as normal as I can. But I know there are little things I can’t hide. Perhaps like I’m less tired than I normally am when I bring him to bed (or giving in to my tiredness less). Or he notices the sound device that’s normally not in his room (what do you call those, that enable you to listen to your child? We call them babyphone, but I guess that’s not it).

  7. I don’t have children but I know if I’m not in my usual routine I either don’t sleep well at all or can’t fall asleep like I usually do. Makes sense that children would also respond similarly.

  8. When my kids were little, classical music does well. We tried music with words but they tend to sing it and can’t sleep, so music with no words work well.

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