Have 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.
Do you have other ways to make bedtime calm on a night that is not normal?
by Michelle Winters
SleepWell Sleep Solutions