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Sleep problems in young children

Lots of young children find it difficult to settle down to sleep and will wake up during the night.

If your child will not go to bed

  • Decide what time you want your child to go to bed.

  • Start a "winding down" bedtime routine 20 minutes before the time that your child usually falls asleep. Bring this forward by 5 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.

  • Set a limit on how much time you spend with your child when you put them to bed. For example, read only 1 story, then tuck your child in and say goodnight.

  • Give your child their favourite toy, dummy (if they use one) or comforter before settling into bed.

  • Leave a beaker of water within reach and a dim light on if necessary.

  • If your child gets up, keep taking them back to bed again with as little fuss as possible.

  • Try to be consistent.

  • You may have to repeat this routine for several nights.

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