Get some sleep!

Does your child get enough sleep? Do you? Many kids don’t get enough sleep, and it most certainly affects their behavior. As our kids get older, they need less sleep, and sometimes it’s easy to skip naps here and there when we want to be out having fun.

Does your child get enough sleep?

Here are some signs your child isn’t getting enough sleep:

  • He throws fits over insignificant events. Any little thing will send him over the edge.
  • His behavior is characteristically poor an hour or two before bed.
  • He wakes up in bad mood. (This is huge!)
  • He’d rather lie on the couch and watch TV than go outside to play.
  • He seems hyper before bed.
  • It takes him a long time to settle down for bed and naps.
  • It seems like he’s constantly trying to catch up on sleep.

Making sure our kids get enough sleep is one of the easiest and most important things we can do to ensure good behavior. Stay home for naps. Get him in bed early. Give him the gift of sleep. Your social life can wait a year or two.

Do you get enough sleep?

Sleep is just as important for mom and dad as it is for the child. I know first-hand how easy it is to stay up late to have some alone time while the kids are asleep. But when we don’t get enough sleep, we are much more likely to lose patience with our children. When we are well rested, we can react calmly and with authority when they misbehave. Plus, we are much more available to our kids when we have had enough sleep.

Here are some signs that you need more sleep:

  • You feel like you’re disciplining your child all day long. (Every little thing seems like a huge behavior issue.)
  • You know you should react calmly but can’t seem to manage your anger and frustration.
  • You feel like all your child does is need, need, need, want, want, want.
  • You know you should spend more time playing with your child, but you just don’t have the energy.
  • You realize you went through the day barely talking to your child.
  • All you want to do when you have a break from your child is rest.
  • You argue with your spouse about who gets to sleep in.

Now, if you’re up all night with a newborn and up all day with a toddler, you don’t have much opportunity to sleep. Just be aware of your need for sleep. Take a nap when you can and try your hardest to be more patient with your little ones.

But if your kids sleep through the night, you have no excuse. Allow yourself some “me” time, but don’t lose track of time. Go to bed and get up at a reasonable hour and you’ll all be better off.


  1. I know, that my son (2 1/2) needs more sleep, especially his nap. He goes to bed at 7 p.m. Sometimes he just does not sleep at naptime. He stays in bed for one hour, but keeps playing and talking. I wonder if maybe he doesn’t need his nap any more, but if he does not sleep, he is really tired the rest of the day.

  2. Hi Kathrin. It sounds like a phase. The fact that he’s tired the rest of the day is your clue that he still needs the nap. Just keep up with your routine and I bet he’ll go back to napping very soon. Don’t do anything different to try to get him to go to sleep. It could backfire on you. Just stick with it and if nothing changes in a couple weeks, then you might consider putting him down a bit later or even letting him read books when you put him down. No matter what, keep up with that quiet time. Even when a 5yo is done with naps, that regular quiet time at least gives them the option of sleeping if they need it. ~Maureen

  3. Hi There,
    I am desperate to solve my 3 1/2 yr olds night time waking problems. He has been sleeping through the night from 7mo but when we started potty training at 2 1/2, there began to be night time wakings for the potty that I did not really know what to do with. I worked through those with the recommendation of the Dr. to not respond and let him take himself, and that pretty much ended that. But it seems where you put out one fire there starts another! He started waking at 5:30am consistently for several months, which signaled to me a problem with his sleep. The Dr. said to lose his afternoon nap, but my son is literally begging for naps and sometimes falls asleep at 11:30am if in the car long enough. I have managed to give him independent play time at 1 and a brief nap (30-1hr) nap at 2pm. He still goes to bed between 7:30-8pm, but plays in his bed, so I think he falls asleep at 8:20ish. I am curious if I should drop the nap all together, which chills me to the bone, or encourage a really long nap starting at 12:30pm? (he has always loved sleep and will sleep at anytime). Any help would be appreciated!