As a parent, you already know that the idea of a calm bedtime is often akin to the holy grail.
Maybe it exists, but you better be ready to embark on the quest of a lifetime to achieve it, right?
Well, luckily, if your kid is hyper at bedtime, you don’t have to resign yourself to the mayhem.
It’s possible to reach the bedtime that dreams are made of, no pun intended.
Why does my child get hyper at night
As strange as it may sound, the reason your child gets hyper at bedtime is a lack of sleep and poor sleep habits.
When children are sleepy, they may act more excited than usual. Perhaps they missed a nap.
Or they could be spending too much time in front of screens. The blue light emitted from screens can disrupt a child’s sleep cycle.
The result is inadequate rest, which causes an increase in hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.
These two hormones are part of the body’s fight or flight response and as a result, it keeps your child awake.
Ps. As a former Yelling Mom, I know how the cycle goes. First, you ask your kids nicely.
Then you remind. And you repeat …and remind. After all that nagging, you finally EXPLODE.
If you’re stuck in this never-ending cycle, you’re not alone.
I know how easy it is to resort to YELLING when nothing else works to get your kids to listen.
I felt so GUILTY and helpless. So, when I learned there were BETTER, guilt-free ways to get my kids to listen, my life CHANGED.
After spending many months in frustration, I discovered a NEW parenting strategy that WORKS with no yelling!
It was created by Amy McCready, and she has a FREE webinar where she teaches about this NO-yelling formula for consequences, and so much more!
Do You Feel Like You’ll Never Sleep Again?
When it takes you hours to get your child to go to sleep, you end up paying the price.
You’re lucky if you can snag about four hours of sleep when all is said and done, right?
It becomes a vicious cycle, too. When you can’t get enough rest, you become stressed out, impatient, and tired.
It happens to the best of us. Don’t worry; your kid isn’t the only one that gets hyper at bedtime.
But, when you feel unrested, you likely struggle even more. You don’t feel like dealing with it, and your kid gets even more hyper.
You keep hearing how five-year-olds need at least 9 hours of sleep, and you look on helplessly as the clock flashes 11 pm.
Your child just won’t go to bed; what are you supposed to do?
So, Your Child Doesn’t Want To Sleep?
“But I’m not sleepy!” your kid adamantly exclaims as you put them back in bed for the tenth time.
You feel like saying, “But I am,” but instead you tell your child it’s bedtime and tuck them in snug as a bug.
I remember when my son was younger, I would lay next to him and pat his back.
After about 15 minutes, he was out like a light, and I was doing victory dances in my head.
Then, as soon as my hand reached the doorknob, “Mommy, tell me a story.”
I would spin around and see my son, who, I thought, was fast asleep, sitting bolt upright in bed with wide, bright eyes.
My victory dance party ended abruptly as I trudged back to his bedside.
Other nights, my son was running circles around the room like he was doing a 5k.
Yes, I also thought I was doomed to a lifetime of long, drawn-out bedtimes. But, if your kid doesn’t want to sleep, all is not lost.
Three Tips For Making Bedtime Easier
You might think that letting your kids stay up a little later will lead to an easier bedtime because they’ll be more tired.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Instead, kids get a second wind and become over-tired, making them even more hyper.
Before you resign yourself to inevitable bedtime showdowns, take a look at these three tips for creating a calmer bedtime.
If your kids are hyper at bedtime, putting these steps into practice will help make things go more smoothly when it’s time to tuck them in at night.
Tip # 1: Have A Consistent (Calm) Bedtime Routine
Here’s the thing, a lot of what can help your kids calm down at night are things we should all do before bed.
You’ve probably heard tips for a better night’s sleep, like no cellphone an hour before bedtime and no eating after 8 pm.
Also, try to keep your nighttime routine consistent.
Well, when it comes to your kids, some of these same concepts apply. Sure, your kid might not have a cellphone (or maybe they do).
But the idea is, limit stimulating activities starting about an hour or so before you want your kids in bed.
Set up a routine for your children that features the four “B’s.” Bath, brush teeth, book, bed.
In other words, no rowdy playtime sessions right before bedtime.
Then, and this is the crucial part, stay consistent.
Your kid will start to know what to expect, plus they have time to calm down and decompress before putting their head on the pillow.
Tip # 2: Start The Bedtime Process Sooner
Another essential part of your bedtime routine should be starting the process sooner.
Think about it…
Are you able to fall asleep right away if you just dive into bed after going full speed ahead? Not likely (unless you’re my husband).
So, if you want your kid to be in bed by 7:30 pm, plan to start the process around 6:30 or 6:45 pm.
So, putting the first two tips together, you might come up with a bedtime schedule that looks something like this:
6:30 pm — Start giving your kid the 15-minute warning that whatever they’re doing is the last thing before bath. (Kids need a heads-up like this; they don’t appreciate abrupt transitions.)
6:45 pm — Bath time is next. (Some bath play is fine, just don’t let things get too loud or wild.)
7:00 pm — Time to brush teeth and get into pajamas.
7:10 pm — Let your kid pick out the books for the night (you can determine how many books based on length).
7:30 pm — Tuck in your child, kiss them goodnight and tell them sweet dreams. If you’re a singer, sing them a soft lullaby.
If you’re not a singer, you can just skip this part — or do it anyway. Channel your inner diva; just keep it calm and quiet.
This schedule is one we use with our son and after keeping it consistent for about a week, it became routine.
Our son knows what to expect and has time to settle in and get calm before getting under the covers.
Now, bedtime isn’t the agonizing chore it once was, and we don’t dread it.
Tip # 3: Don’t Rush It And Stay In The Moment
Finally, stay present when you’re in the midst of the bedtime routine. I don’t just mean physically. I mean mentally, too.
So, this means staying focused on your child and staying in the moment.
Don’t be making a mental grocery list for tomorrow or thinking about what you want to do once your kid’s asleep.
Whether you realize it or not, all of this makes you a bit antsier, and you might try to rush the process. You likely won’t even realize you’re doing it.
However, your kid will undoubtedly pick up on it and reflect it in their actions. (Kids are kind of like dogs; they sense your emotions and react accordingly).
Therefore, if you want your kid to stay calm, you need to keep calm.
How do you calm a hyperactive child at night?
Here are some natural ways to calm a hyper child at night. Remember to be patient.
The more you establish these habits, the easier sleep time will become.
Keep things Quiet
The first thing to do is to keep your child calm, so at bedtime try to avoid anything that would make him or her excited (like watching the TV).
Read a Book
Try reading them a book before they go to sleep. You may want to avoid anything that might scare them, like a horror story.
Use Electronics Sparingly
If you have to use electronics for your child to calm down, try to limit the amount of time they spend on it and make sure it’s before bedtime.
Sing Them a Song
You may also want to try singing them a song before they go to bed. This may not always work, but most kids respond well to their parents singing them a lullaby at night.
Keep the Lights Low and Soft
Keeping the lights low and having soft lighting in your child’s room can help keep your kid calm and relaxed.
Kids tend to get overstimulated by too much light, so it’s a good idea to keep it dimmed.
Avoid late-night meals or sugary snacks
A busy digestive system can create issues with sleep.
Try to avoid giving them a lot of food right before bedtime, especially if it’s something that’s difficult to digest, like dairy or protein.
Ideal bedtimes for babies, toddlers, and children
Below is a recommended guideline you can follow based on your child’s age.
Newborns (0-3 months): they should sleep 18 to 20 hours a day, in four to five naps of two to three hours each.
They need three or more naps in the daytime, evenly spaced out over the course of the day; this is usually around every three to four hours.
3 to 6 months: the baby’s sleep patterns become more predictable and he/she starts sleeping for about five to six hours at a time, taken in one stretch.
6 to 9 months: this is when you will start seeing more variation in your babies’ sleep patterns; around this age, they should be able to sleep through the night, though they may still wake up once or twice.
9 to 12 months: babies this age generally sleep for 11 to 12 hours at night, with one daytime nap.
1 to 2 years: toddlers this age often take two naps during the day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon; they sleep for around 12 hours at night.
2 to 3 years: at this age, many toddlers will start giving up their afternoon nap and sleep for around 11 hours at night.
3 to 5 years: preschoolers typically sleep for 10 to 11 hours at night, with one daytime nap.
5 to 12 years: school-age children typically need nine to 10 hours of sleep at night, with one daytime nap.
Enjoy The Magic Of Sweet Dreams
Don’t give up on a calmer bedtime if these steps don’t work right away.
You can’t expect your child to be hyper at bedtime all the time, then suddenly become super calm in one night.
Remember, your kids require consistency. It’s like anything else — practice makes perfect (or almost perfect). 💤