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Did you know going to bed at the same time as your partner is "biologically irrational"? That's according to sleep physician David Cunnington, who says our preferences for sleep timing whether we're early birds or night owls and sleep environment are largely genetically determined.


Q Our lives have become miserable because we all dread sleep time. Our son doesn't want to go to the bath, then he doesn't want to get out of it, then he wants a snack, then he doesn't want to brush his teeth, then he wants to play, then he wants more stories, then he doesn't calm down and is all hyper.

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At the end if he sleeps before 10 pm it is a success. But normally bedtime is somewhere between pm. We are all tired and we get really mad at him, then feel guilty and sad for having gotten mad at him.

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This cycle is driving me crazy. I hate myself, I hate being a parent, I am upset with him for giving me all these bad feelings. And these bad feelings have started creeping into our days as well.

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He misbehaves and doesn't follow any instructions and we yell, etc. We need HELP please! First of all, take a deep breath — you are not alone. Many parents and kids struggle with bedtime and while bedtime does not have to be a miserable experience, there are few other words that can accurately describe it when the evening goes awry.

Your son sounds overtired and overtired kids have a lot of trouble going to sleep. If he is not getting enough sleep, he is also more likely to be tired during the day and tired kids also have trouble with following directions, paying attention, and misbehaving.

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From there, the cycle continues. To start, you need to break the cycle and establish good sleep hygiene.

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That said, if your son has been going to bed between and PM for a while, he is not likely going to start going to bed at PM tomorrow, no matter what you do. Setting up a new bedtime routine will need to be done gradually.

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Having a predictable and consistent routine is a powerful tool for countering the bedtime battle. Routines do not actually start at bedtime—they can begin as early as when your son gets home from school with a certain amount of play and a set time for doing some homework.

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For afterschool play, plan to go to a park or playground because exercise helps kids get sleepy in the evenings. Another good place to start is with a consistent dinnertime. After dinner, allocate time for calm play avoid electronicsbrushing teeth, bathing, putting on pajamas, a calm story, and lights out. Build in some opportunities for your son to make choices at each one of these points in the routine—kids can be more cooperative with the bedtime routine when they get to choose some options.

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Here are some examples:. It will be very important for you to expect resistance, have a plan for it, and remain as calm as possible because raised voices are very stimulating.

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Here are a few other pointers: Remove stimulating games and electronics from his room; stay consistent and keep the routine the same on the weekends and during vacations; use softer lighting near bedtime; all family members can serve as good models when it is time for the lights to go out. We need HELP! Get this as a PDF. Enter to download and get news and resources in your inbox.

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Share this on social. Ask an Expert Our son never wants to go to bed and it's making us all miserable. Answered by Ken Schuster, PsyD. Here are some examples: Getting into the bath or skipping it and putting on pajamas for bed; Getting in while the bath is filling to play with the faucet water or waiting until the bath is full; Getting out of the bath right away or staying in while it drains; Brushing teeth before or after the bath; Giving two choices of pajamas.

Topic: Sleep. Ken Schuster, PsyD.

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Inside this post: Learn the most effective way to respond when your child is afraid to sleep alone.