Why Your Child Isn’t Sleeping (And What to Do About It)

child isn't sleeping

Reading time: 5 minutes

Suitable for: Families of primary-age children

Read the secondary-age version of this QUICK READ

Everyone has nights when they don’t sleep well. But, if your child isn't sleeping most of the time, it can affect their concentration, mood, behaviour, and general energy levels. Getting enough sleep is important.

There are a range of different issues that could affect your child’s sleep.


1: Sleep environment


  • Use blackout blinds or heavy curtains to block early morning sunlight
  • Keep electronic devices out of bedrooms
  • Make the bedroom a quiet space
  • Keep the temperature comfortably cool
  • Some children like white noise or ambient sounds
  • Experiment to find out what works best for your child

If your child is struggling with sleep, you may be tempted to let them nap or sleep in at the weekends to catch up. However, this can create further problems. Keep naps to an absolute minimum, well away from bedtime, and limit them to around 30 minutes.

With older children who struggle to sleep, rather than lying awake for hours at their usual bedtime, you could try delaying the time they go to bed until they feel tired enough to sleep.

In the morning, wake them up at the usual time. While they’re spending less time in bed, they will be spending more of the time sleeping. This approach will help them establish a better sleeping pattern.


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