How to Sleep Train an Older ChildJanuary 31, 2018
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Tick Tock Turtle. All opinions are mine alone.
For kids of all ages, bedtime can be a challenging time of the day. While the sleep woes of infants are well-accepted and very common, parents of preschoolers & older children often face issues with sleeping & bedtime routines, as well. Today I will discuss some easy steps you can take to encourage your child to fall asleep at the right time every night – and stay asleep throughout the night.
How to Sleep Train an Older Child
1. Create a bedtime routine!
A simple, yet effective, way to train your child to get to bed at a certain hour every night is to implement a bedtime routine. By performing certain activities at the same time every evening, your child’s mind will begin to associate those activities with winding down and going to bed. We have performed the same bedtime routine for both kids since they were born. Our bedtime routine always starts with bath time and ends with story time. We have amassed quite a collection of story books over the years and the kids certainly have their favorites. Reading a book right before bed is not only good for their sleep routine, but it’s also incredibly beneficial academically.
2. Use the Tick Tock Turtle Clock!
When it comes to streamlining a child’s sleep, nothing is more convenient for the parent – or more fun for the child – than Tick Tock Turtle. We recently discovered this all-in-one sleep companion that helps a child understand the concept of time, learn how to read a clock and figure out whether it’s time to wake up in the morning. It features adjustable music, brightness & volume and it also serves as a night light timer. Did you know that blue lights have been linked to the inhibition of the sleep hormone melatonin? That’s why the lights on Tick Tock Turtle are red in the evening – this sends a signal to the child that it’s time to wind down and get ready for bed. By morning, the red indicator lights transition to white daytime lights, simulating a gentle sunrise and waking up the child slowly. Known as light therapy, this has been shown to result in a more gradual wake-up. Take a look at our pink Tick Tock Turtle (named Leilani) – isn’t she so adorable?!
To program the clock, simply rotate the cover on the shell. Keep in mind that once all the settings are programmed by the parent, the clock can be fully operated by the child. This makes Tick Tock Turtle a wonderful training tool for children developing independence surrounding their sleep routine. To turn on the sleep aiding light, the child can simply touch a button and quickly gauge how much time is left until morning. This is super useful for parents of children, who tend to wake up too early in the morning. (raises hand)
If the shell of the Turtle is tapped, the digits of the current time light up, making it easy & fun to learn how to read a clock.
Tick Tock Turtle has become my daughter’s favorite decoration in her room. It’s an adorable pink turtle that’s also interactive. Perhaps the coolest feature of this clock is its smart alarm feature. Did you know that humans progress through different sleep cycles throughout the night and that the lightest sleep is associated with increased movement? Well, Tick Tock Turtle has built-in 3-axis motion sensors to track your child’s movement. When Tick Tock Turtle is within 30 minutes of your set alarm time, it starts to keep track of movement and it will sound the alarm during increased movement (this correlates to the lightest sleep cycle). The result of all this is that the child will wake up more alert and less irritable – it’s the gentlest way to wake up!
My daughter really loves her Tick Tock Turtle. In the middle of the night, it functions as a portable night light – perfect for those impromptu trips to the bathroom. It has been a fun addition to her room and we love using the timer function to keep track of her screen time (everything in moderation, am I right?).
Learn more about the Tick Tock Turtle here and find out how you can get one for yourself. Plus, be sure to enter all the giveaways frequently run on their site here – simply sign up for the free newsletter. To stay up-to-date on the latest news & offers from the company, be sure to check them out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
UPDATE: As of 2/21, there are only 8 days left on their Kickstarter campaign. They’re halfway to their goal! Click here to check it out!
3. Make their bed comfortable & inviting!
Does your child have a favorite cartoon character? Look for bedding that features their favorite characters. You want to make the bed feel inviting and welcoming for your child. We have added my daughter’s favorite stuffed animals to her bed so that it’s a place she looks forward to going every night. My daughter also loves sequin pillows that change colors, so we added one of those pillows to her bed, too.
*These tips are geared toward older kids, as pillows should not be added to beds with younger children.
4. Focus on positive reinforcement!
You may find that offering small rewards may incentivize your child to settle in at night. Keep the rewards small and age-appropriate. For example, you can offer your child a few small rewards after 2 consecutive nights of successfully setting in. We have offered our kids stickers, crayons, small figurines, and other similar prizes.
5. Keep the room comfortable!
To encourage sleep, it’s imperative to keep the bedroom at a comfortable temperature throughout the night. Depending on the time of the year, set your thermostat to a temperature that promotes restfulness. We have found that a temperature in the high 60’s tends to be best for promoting sleep throughout the night.
6. Consistency is key!
When it comes to setting up a strong sleep schedule with your child, consistency is everything. Avoid the temptation to “skip a night” and let your child do whatever she wants for one night. Create a routine, set expectations and then stick to them.
Don’t forget to learn more about Tick Tock Turtle here. What is your best tip for encouraging your child to sleep through the night?
I’ve been super lucky because both of my boys are fairly good sleepers. My main issue is that my oldest, who is now 13, is a REALLY early riser. He’s up before 6 EVERY SINGLE DAY!!
My oldest is an early riser too! I understand the struggle! 🙂
That turtle is too cute! I totally agree that creating a bedtime routine helps kids get to sleep. Having a set time to get in bed and a routine always helped my kids get to sleep.
Yes, a good routine can make a big difference!
All these are great ideas and tips. We had one kids that fell asleep soon as he hit the pillow. Other one was a night owl. They finally figured it out and found out what they needed.
It’s not easy with any child when it comes to bed time but these tips definitely help. A routine is always important to help them get ready for bed. As the time passes, it gets easier with a good routine and consistency!
This is the cutest clock! I’m lucky and my kids were good sleepers. I established rules early on. No kids in my bed. And when I say it’s time to sleep, it’s time to sleep.
These are great tips for how to sleep train a child. I don’t have kids but that turtle is so adorable! With anything in life it’s all about consistency.
I’ve never had a child of my own but I’ve taken care of nephews and nieces and I agree with you on this. A schedule is important and you have to make sure that you do it consistently!
What a creative use of light therapy. I had the chance to experience light therapy during a recent vacation. The suite had a variety of settings that could be programmed to help wind down and prepare for sleep. It was pretty neat seeing the various colors illuminate the room at different points in the evening.
Wow, that sounds amazing! Light therapy can be really effective!
I think sleep training can get really challenging, especially when the child is already a little older. I agree with you – it’s all about routine and scheduling!
This is a wonderful idea. We have something similar in our older son’s room. This is great advice.
The turtle clock would be effective in giving them good sleeping habits. Once they get used to the pattern, it would be routine for them.
Yes, it definitely helps to set a routine!
I put my kids on a sleep schedule as soon as possible. 6 and 13 years later we still have a sleeping schedule.
This clock seems like a really great and cute idea! My kids are sleep trained, but they do like to wake up really early on the weekends. Having a clock like this would be great for them to know if it is to early to wake up. You would think the sun not even being up yet would be enough of a sign to go back to sleep, but not for them. :/
I get it! My oldest has always been an early riser! Very early!
These are great tips for sleep training. Having a bedtime routine and set bedtime is so important! The little turtle is so cute!
We are all creatures of habit and teaching a child about sleep routines is important. I did not have any issues with my eldest and youngest child, but my middle child was the most difficult to train. He just had so much energy at bedtime that it was difficult for him to stay still and sleep! Thankfully, we all got over this phase!
This is such a useful tool. Getting them on a good sleep schedule is a giant help.
Life gets so much easier when they are on your schedule. This is a great resource to help parents.
I truly believe consistency is the key. My kids had to be on a schedule for night time!!