Revisiting How to Get Your Child to Fall Asleep Faster
For the next two weeks we will be revisiting some of our favorite episodes thus far. Today we're excited to kick-off our retrospective with the popular episode all about reestablishing a bedtime routine for little ones.
As parents, one of the most dreaded times with our kids can be bedtime. Kids seemingly can come up with a million and one other things they would rather do than lay down and go to sleep!
Morgan Winder joins Dr. Fedrick on this episode of Calm, Cool and Connected to dive into the world of kids sleep, and why sleep issues could be happening with your child.
Key Takeaways from Liz’s chat with Morgan:
• Learn what could be going on that would cause sleep issues in children
• Hear about the connection between anxiety and problems during bedtime
• Find out if it’s the kids, or the parents who have the most changes to make at bedtime for an “easier” nightly routine
• Tips for parents dealing with consistently hard bedtimes
• Hear some helpful coping skills for parents to do with children prior to bedtime
All of this and more, on this episode of Calm, Cool and Connected.
Reach out to Morgan at email@example.com
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[00:00:00]Dr. Elizabeth Fedrick: hello. Welcome to calm. Cool. And connected. I'm your host, Dr. Elizabeth Bedrick. There is nothing that drives a parent crazier than their child getting up for the 10th time after being put up. Oh, my goodness. By the end of the day, we are all tired, exhausted, irritable, just desperate for that 10 minutes of downtime.
I totally get it. However, the reason your child keeps getting up might not be as simple as you think. We often think that our kid is out just to drive us crazy, but maybe there's more to the story here to share with us about that as our next guest licensed master social worker. And she also specializes in child and adolescent therapy, meaning she's talked to parents once or twice about this topic.
Morgan is a therapist who works with in the parent child relationship and also works with children directly. So, hi Morgan, thanks so much for joining us.
Morgan Winder: Thank you so much for having me.
Dr. Elizabeth Fedrick: So children having difficulties falling asleep is [00:01:00] such a common topic in the therapy room. We, we know this, whether it's children, teens, across the whole gamut, this comes up as an issue.
Tell us a little bit about this. Besides their motivation being to drive their parents and saying, what else might be going on?
Morgan Winder: Your introduction said it perfectly. I feel like every single intake I have with parents, the topic of sleep constantly comes up and there is so much frustration around it of where are they voiding bedtime.
We have this perfect routine that we set up, but why can't we follow through with it? And why is there so much pushback and resistance? So from what I've seen, once I'm working with the child and the parent. Is once we peel back those layers, there tends to always be some anxiety about going to bed, and that can look for so many different reasons.
But anxiety tends to always be present when it comes to getting a child of any age. [00:02:00]
Dr. Elizabeth Fedrick: Interesting. So how does anxiety in children manifest in general? We know that often this looks like behavioral concerns, so bedtime being one of those concerns. And so parents get frustrated because they believe this is a behavior issue, but how is anxiety actually manifesting in a lot of.
Morgan Winder: Yeah, that can happen in so many different ways. So I've seen it too, where a kiddo of any age has a really bad association with bedtime. So even if they are anxious before that, for any particular reason that really bad night's sleep and that association with the bedtime really reinforces that behavior, which brings that up.
Big pushback that parents are seeing. And that push and pull type before bedtime, typically in preschoolers anxiety before bed can look like fear of the dark. A lot of separation from that parent when it is time to go to bed and not being able to regulate themselves. Alone before bedtime. As you start [00:03:00] to get in the older ages of children that can look like anxiety on what school's going to look like the next day, social fears and social anxiety.
A lot of anxiety around work and school stress that's coming up. And also that still can be a lot of separation anxiety before a time for kids even older. Definitely.
Dr. Elizabeth Fedrick: And when you're working on this. With children or parents when you're working on this in therapy, who do you usually direct the onus to?
So who so frequently, whether it is they want stay in bed or they have a big tantrum when it's time for bed, are you directing your work often more towards the child or more towards the parents?
Morgan Winder: Equally both. A lot of my work with the child is helping challenge those negative thoughts that they're having before about time and really giving them the healthy coping skills, but also for the parent.
That's one at validating their frustrations on how difficult that time can be for them. But really giving them the tools to help explore what [00:04:00] those, like those anxious thoughts are with the kiddo and giving them the tools to. Edit and alter that bedtime routine a little bit more to be there with the kiddo, to ensure that everything is being executed in a perfect way to help guide both of them, to make this easier for everyone to get the kid asleep faster and help the parents be there to regulate that.
So that bedtime routine can finally go a little bit more smooth.
Dr. Elizabeth Fedrick: So what would be maybe like for parents listening right now, maybe like three tips that we could give them of how to make this bedtime process smoother. Maybe we will go from getting up 10 times to seven or five or, you know, slowly decrease it, but what would be maybe three tips that you would give to help them?
Morgan Winder: Yeah. I think a lot of that too can be tailored towards like what those anxious thoughts are for the kiddo. But I feel like three broad ones that are always super helpful are [00:05:00] spending a little bit more time with the kiddo at that time. So instead of providing. A lot of shame towards the bedtime or really reinforcing it and not being supportive through that process.
I think it's good for them to kind of unfortunately sacrifice a little bit more time of the day to really dive them through and be supportive. Whether that's more pillow talk or you guys are engaging in a fun, relaxing activity before bedtime together, I think is always super helpful. But Providing more of like an experience together.
So whether that's, you're doing the healthy coping skill with them to kind of reassure them that it's okay. And to get through that together or doing activities. Positive affirmations together. Big life journal particularly has a ton of really good positive affirmations before by the time resources on their website that I guide parents to.
And that's always a fun little activity. But lastly, a really good one. Creating that to be a really safe space for them [00:06:00] without adding a sound machine, or some kids really do enjoy essential oils or a little glow in the dark jar that they can have to do deep breathing techniques with. So I try to also like let's alter the space to be a little bit more safer for them and engage some of their senses more and create a relaxing experience.
Dr. Elizabeth Fedrick: I love that. When you say coping skills, can you elaborate on that a little bit for what exactly is a coping skill and how is this applicable today?
Morgan Winder: Yeah, I think some really great ones are like one always deep breathing. So even if you guys have a fun, cute, creative way that you engage in deep breathing together is always great.
I find that body scans are really helpful for younger kiddos as well. So whether they're listening to a body scan or the parent is guiding them through it and creating a relaxing experience together, I think that's great. I also think like, just drawing and journaling before bed, maybe a gratitude journal [00:07:00] together or just.
Coloring and drawing together as like a little mindful activity. I think those are some really great basic coping skills at the parent and child's can do together as well. Yeah. Those
Dr. Elizabeth Fedrick: are great ideas in your experience, working with children and teens with sleep do you feel like there's any truth to the saying.
You know, smart children, maybe don't get as much sleep because their minds are always racing. Their minds are always processing. Is, does that, is there any validity to that based on your work with children and teens?
Morgan Winder: I think there is a little bit of truth behind that as far as the sense of. Our minds are always racing, right?
Like that is the first time of the day that any child is really breastfeeding and having mindful time they're off electronics for the first time. And they're finally processing their day. So I think. When I hear that it comes up as like my mind doesn't stop racing or like my mind just cut off at the end of the day.
So I think [00:08:00] some helpful activities for that are getting off electronics at an early time and starting to implement those relaxing activities to slow the mind down a little bit.
Dr. Elizabeth Fedrick: Yeah, great point. Can you tell us again, the website that you had referenced for the resources? What was that website?
Big life journal. Okay. And that is age appropriate across, does it span
Morgan Winder: ages? It does. So it spans as young as four all the way up to teenage years they have. So they actually had like really great podcasts that are interesting for the child's listen to as well as the parent. And they have both resources for children and the parents.
So some great. Resources for the parent, as far as growth mindset and ways that they can help their child to go to sleep. But then they also provide age appropriate journals for the child as well. And that can even go from sleep all the way to just different growth mindset, techniques, et cetera, for the child.
[00:09:00] Oh, that's
Dr. Elizabeth Fedrick: awesome. I'm going to check that out myself. Are there any additional tips? So thank you. This has been really a format informative. Is there anything that we didn't cover that you think parents should know about sleep?
Morgan Winder: I think my biggest suggestion would be, although it might seem like avoidant behaviors or defiant behaviors before that time, if there even is a routine already set up.
You've set your child up for success in every way to have that patience, to explore some other options in that there might be an underlying factor to your kiddo not going to sleep, although it might seem like more time of engaging in electronics, et cetera, that they're dying for. There might be something underneath.
Yes. Always more to the
Dr. Elizabeth Fedrick: story. Thank you so much, Morgan. I appreciate you coming
Morgan Winder: on. Okay. Thank you for having me.
Dr. Elizabeth Fedrick: Bye. Bye. And thank you all for tuning into this episode of calm, cooling, connected. Please make sure to find us on Facebook and Instagram, and also make sure you rate and subscribe [00:10:00] to our podcasts so that others can discover our content as well.
Thank you so much for joining and have a great day. .