What the NHS says if your child refuses to go to bed

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If you are facing a battle at bedtime with your child, this is what the NHS has to say -Credit:Shared Content Unit

For some parents, bedtime is just a normal part of the day, for some parents, it is a battle.

Making sure your child has enough sleep is another worry in the endless anxieties of parenthood and if your little one resists, it can make it so much harder. There is nothing worse than after a long day knowing you are having to face a fight to get your child to sleep.

We have taken a look at what the NHS says about what to do if you are having trouble, but before that, take a breath and remember you are not alone, many parents have the same issues and you are doing a great job.

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The NHS said it is important to remember every child is different and only follow tips you are comfortable with and that work around your daily life and routines already in place. The second important thing is to decide what time you want your child to go to bed.

They suggested to start a "winding down" bedtime routine around 30 minutes before the time that your child usually falls asleep. And then you should bring this forward by five to 10 minutes each week – or 15 minutes if your child is in the habit of going to bed very late – until you get to the bedtime you want.

It is also suggested that you set a limit on how much time you spend with your child when you put them to bed. For example, only reading one story, then tucking your child in and saying goodnight.

The NHS also says to allow your child their favourite to, dummy (if they use one) and comforter before settling into bed so they can help self-soothe. It is also thought to be OK to leave a dim light on if your child is still uncomfortable with the dark.

This is where it can become difficult. If your child gets up, the NHS advises that you keep taking them back to bed "with as little fuss as possible" and "try to be consistent". And "if your child wakes up during the night, be as boring as possible to avoid exciting them and leave lights off". You may have to repeat this routine for several nights.

The NHS says to "make sure you have a calming, predictable bedtime routine that happens at the same time and includes the same things every night". They also said, if your child complains of being hungry or thirsty, a classic with many children, you should offer cereal with milk (brushing their teeth afterwards).

Experts also advise against children looking at laptops, tablets or phones in the 30 to 60 minutes before bed – the light from screens can interfere with sleep. As can long naps in the day, so should be avoided.

If you are still concerned about your child's sleep, the NHS recommends that you talk to your health visitor. And they may have other ideas or suggest you make an appointment at a children's sleep clinic, if there's one in your area.

For more sleep information visit the NHS website here.

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