Creative Child

Bedtime from a Young Child’s Perspective

by Rebecca Eanes

Bedtime can be such a trying time for parents and children. Sometimes it seems as though our children are purposefully trying to send us into a sleep-deprived stupor. Take heart, parents. One day, they will be teenagers. They won’t ask you for water, a snack, or anything. They probably won’t even tell you goodnight. And you’ll have to drag them out of bed in the morning! Until that day comes, though, there are some things we can do as parents to make bedtime go a little more smoothly. But first, we have to understand just what is going on in a young child’s mind when we say, “Time for bed!”

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

To answer this, I turned to Brigett Miller, author of What Young Children Need You To Know. Bridgett is a facilitator at the Neufeld Institute and has decades of experience working with young children. She explains this development: 

“From a child’s perspective, bedtime is when the people they love most leave them to go off and do more important or exciting things. Even though we might not use these specific words and the exciting thing we have to do is load the dishwasher, they pick up on our energy, which conveys our hurry to move the bedtime routine along. Children lock in on our intent to leave them like a shark senses blood in the water. They become preoccupied with doing whatever it takes to keep us with them a bit longer because they are emotionally agitated by the anticipation of the impending separation.”


Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Although it may seem like a brilliant manipulative tactic when kids give endless requests for water, snacks, and extra stories at bedtime, they’re really being driven by a biological need for closeness. However, without an understanding of their developmental stage, we do tend to feel that they’re being manipulative, and as we get more desperate for them to go to sleep, they become more desperate for us to stay, and this is where bedtime becomes a battleground.  Erotik film izle

Bridgett says, “Whenever we fixate on trying to get our children to go to sleep, we inadvertently make things more difficult on ourselves, and on them. Yes, adult persistence may eventually appear to work, but when a child collapses out of sheer emotional exhaustion, few parents are left feeling satisfied. Relieved maybe, but seldom content with their methods.”

The underlying belief that causes the bedtime power struggle is that we see their overt resistance as a behavior problem that needs fixing instead of seeing a child who is attempting to prolong their time with us out of a basic biological need for closeness with a parent. When we shift our mindset from fixing their behavior to meeting the need, we see that it is not discipline or a sleep training technique that is needed, but a shift in our focus. 

According to Bridgett, “We need to give more consideration to how they are feeling and focus less on what they are doing to delay the inevitable separation. When we generously provide them with more contact and closeness and stop drawing their attention to how many stories, minutes, or hugs they have left with us before we leave them, we’re better able to fill them up with our presence rather than reminding them of our looming departure. If we change what we’re paying attention to, we subtly shift the energy we bring to the bedtime experience. Instead, we find ways to emotionally settle our children and lead them into sleep. It’s only then that we discover that bedtime doesn’t have to be battle time.”

1 of 2

You might also like.

Want more? Follow us.

Join our newsletter and get the latest updates!
Hit "Like" to see Creative Child on Facebook