A common trend with toddlers and pre-schoolers is calling out and getting out of bed at sleep time.
So what can you do about it?
Sometimes your child might be calling out or getting out of bed because they genuinely need something. Please never ever hesitate to go and check on them if you think they need help or that something is wrong.
If you think your child’s sleep issues are caused by stress or anxiety, or if your child seems very afraid or is having night terrors than please read some of our other articles. This is when Glow Dreaming can really really help.
If you think your child is getting up or calling out as a way of keeping you around and simply avoiding sleep than here are some steps you can take.
Hot tip: Spending a little more time together with you before lights out might help children whose bedtime issues are caused by separation or other kinds of anxiety. 15-20 minutes helping your child wind down before bed can work wonders. We usually recommend this after setting up your Glow Dreaming for the night
Set up a bedtime routine
A bedtime routine is the most important part of helping your child go to bed and settle. A basic routine involves:
doing the same soothing things each night before bed
avoiding loud or boisterous play before bedtime
avoiding screen-based activity before bedtime – watching TV, playing computer games or using tablets and other handheld devices.
How do I deal with calling out
After you’ve set up your bedtime routine, you might find your child still calls out. This is when being strong really helps. You need to ignore them. If they are hysterical or really distressed, then by all means go in and help but if it’s just calling out, not answering is the best thing you can do.
A strategy that might work with children over three years is the ‘free pass’:
At bedtime, issue your child with one free pass - like a drink of water or a kiss from mum or dad.
Hot tip: If you give in to your child after your child repeatedly comes out of the bedroom or protests loudly, you’re teaching your child to be more persistent.
Start the next day in a positive way
No matter how they behaved the night before being positive is a way to get great results.
Praise them for being quiet
If your child goes to sleep without calling out, make a point of giving praise or rewards the next morning.
If your child is three years or older, try a reward chart to encourage the right bedtime behaviour. For younger children try using something like a special stamp on their hand to remind them during the day what a good job they did overnight.
Don’t mention it if there was calling out
Even if your child called out the night before, try to start the next day in a positive way. The key thing is to ignore the calling out or getting up.