Tips to Help Kids That Won’t Sleep

You know that feeling, you’ve had a stressful day working, cleaning, cooking and just being a mum. All you want is maybe a couple of hours to yourself or with your partner, before you go to bed and prepare for the same again tomorrow.


Your toddler won’t go to sleep, keeps calling for you and it’s beginning to happen on a regular basis – HELP!

It happens to many of us, but it is possible to solve the problem. Following are techniques that will help your child to go to sleep and you to get some much needed quality time!

The Kiss and Retreat Plan

If your child wakes and cries a lot during the night leading to a broken sleep pattern for both of you, try this method devised by child psychologist Dr Olwen Wilson. you can apply it to any child over the age of six months old and you should see some improvement in a week.

After you have completed your pre-bedtime rituals take them to bed, kiss them and then promise to come back again in a minute for another one. But, here’s the trick, don’t leave the room, back off a little so that they can still see you, leave it 30 seconds and go back and give them another kiss.

Continue this process moving further away each time, returning for yet another kiss.

Now it’s time to busy yourself in the room maybe quietly tidy the toys, before yep, you guessed it, returning for another kiss.

Next it’s time to leave the room for a little before the next kiss, and then continue leaving it longer and longer until – finally – your child is asleep. Listen, this technique is successful but don’t be surprised if you lose count of the times you have to keep going back,  just persevere.

If they wake and start crying, go back in immediately and start over again. I know it may sound a lot, but by the third night you will see some improvement.

Gradual Retreat

This works for those mums and dads that usually cuddle their child until they fall asleep.

To start with, instead of laying with them, sit by their bed or cot holding their hand and maybe stroking their hair until they fall asleep, do this every night for a week .

The following week, repeat the method but this time without contact, until they’re asleep.

You can continue this as long as you need to but make sure you move further away each time, once again perseverance is key for this to be successful.

The Checking Routine

This one is the simplest and can work in as little as a week.

Tell your child that it’s bedtime and time for sleep. Explain to them that you are going to leave the room but you won’t be far away and leave.

If they cry wait a few minutes, then return. Do not pick them up or take them out of the room, no turning on the lights or playing and, believe it or not, do not reassure them.

Simply stroke their face or hand until the crying stops and she is calm, then repeat the message and leave the room.

If they continue to cry, leave it longer this time, maybe 10 minutes (hard I know!) before returning. Continue you the pattern until they fall asleep.

All three methods have a very good success rate as long as you are strict. Obviously if your baby/toddler is sick then you should suspend the programme and start again when you are ready, when you should find it works quicker than before.

Happy sleeping!

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