There are plenty of reasons why you might not be able to put your baby to bed at 7:00 at night, but the most common reason I hear from parents whose little ones have a late bedtime is that they just aren’t tired by then.
Instead, they tend to be very energetic and super-adorable up until a couple of hours past that, then seem to fight sleep once they’re put into their crib.
In today’s video, I want to explain that late-night burst of energy, and tell you why it’s leading to poor sleep through the night. Once you’ve identified the issue, I think you’ll find that a 7:00 bedtime can help your baby get a better night’s sleep, and give you and your partner some much needed time alone with each other.
When I used to work privately with couples, one of the most surprising places I got pushback was on the idea of an early bedtime and some of the complaints were well, she doesn’t seem tired at that time, she’s usually really happy and running around at seven, it doesn’t seem like that’s a great time to put her to bed or daddy works late or mommy works late and we can’t get supper on the table or she’s gonna wake up really early in the morning if we put her to bed early.
Well, I wanna share with you some really great news today that most children do better on an earlier bedtime. Now, this has a lot to do with what demands you have during the day.
If your child can sleep till nine a.m. then there’s a chance that she may but most kids, most babies and toddlers and all the way through the school years gravitate naturally towards around a seven a.m. wake up. It’s almost like that’s where the body clock is set and kids just sort of naturally gravitate to that. So it’s a great place to start.
I know for some people, it’s like that’s way too early but it’s better to just go with what your child’s body clock is in line to do than try to fight against that. It is quite difficult to change a body clock or a circadian rhythm. So getting your child to bed early enough that she’s going to get her 11 to 12 hours of nighttime sleep is the most important piece.
So if she’s waking up often around the 6:30, seven a.m. timeframe then we wanna dial that back about 12 hours and have her to bed around 6:30, seven p.m. and then we know she’s gonna get enough sleep at night.
So what’s happening then if your child’s racing around at seven o’clock and not looking like sleep is on his mind at all? The chances are that he’s just overtired. Now, for all children, overtiredness looks like hyperactivity. So they’re racing around, sometimes they’re crying one second then laughing hysterically the next. They’re often very, very adorable during this phase. They tend to be in a great mood. They’re amusing you, they’re making jokes. They’re making faces. They tend to be a little bit frantic. That might be something you notice.
That means you missed the window. That means you’ve waited way too long, they caught their second wind, they’re going into overtiredness and they’re winding themselves up instead of coming down. So if we can time it before they get to this period then we’re gonna have much better luck getting them to bed.
So where that tends to show up is right around the seven o’clock hour. If we go much past that, 7:30 is doable, sometimes even eight o’clock is still doable but anything past that tends to cause too much fatigue, the second wind kicks in and now you’ve got a hyper child who’s awake until 11 p.m. So see if you can find that magic window of opportunity that’s gonna make getting your child to bed easier.
Definitely have a bedtime routine. That’s so important for all of us really. If you think about your own getting ready for bed routines, they happen in the same order every night, they happen roughly the same time every night. This is a cuing system for your body and brain that it’s time to go to bed. It’s time to transition from day into night. So we want to make sure that we’re giving our child that opportunity to cue the body and the brain as well. About 30 minutes is a perfect length. Not too long, we don’t wanna confuse them. Not too short, that won’t give them enough time. Things like a bath, massage, story time. You can include some sort of snack or fluid or liquids of some kind if your baby’s still in the age where they need a feed before bed but nothing in the routine is about sleep yet. We’re not going there yet. This is just the getting ready for bed piece that we’re focusing on.
So giving them this little bit of time to cue them. You don’t need to worry about them relaxing in the routine. They’re not gonna chill out in the tub with candlelight. That’s okay, we don’t have to worry about that. We’re just cuing the body and the brain that bedtime is coming and then getting them into bed before they catch that second wind. The little extra piece of good news around that is that you’ll have an evening back and that’s so important. I don’t wanna minimize that. We all need our own time. We all need our own downtime. We all need time to recharge and reconnect with our partners and once you get a taste of this early bedtime, I promise you you’re gonna love it.
Thanks for watching today. Sleep well.
If your baby, infant or toddler is having trouble sleeping through the night, help is just a click away! The Sleep Sense Program has helped over 57,00 parents to get their kids sleeping 11-12 hours through the night AND taking long, restful naps during the day. If you’re ready to get started today – I’m looking forward to helping you!