Real Pains Before Bed or Just Attention Seeking?
Aaah bedtime…. This can either be smooth-sailing or quite the challenge for parents when it comes to putting the little ones down. And even if it’s smooth-sailing for quite some time, the different growth stages that children go through will inevitably create some challenging nights.
We’ve been hearing about the topic of “pains” before bed… Naturally, parents think this could be growing pains, or their child could truly be sick which oftentimes is the case! But sometimes, you have a gut feeling your child may be crying wolf to avoid bedtime and you just don’t know what to do to break the pattern. The good news is, there are solutions! HERE Co-Founder Jen Armstrong addresses this parenting topic, and offers these tips with a mindful twist to help. We are here for you, for them.
Crying Wolf at Bedtime To Avoid Sleep: Turn This Nighttime Frown Upside-Down
by Jen Armstrong
First and foremost, when your child’s pain is real, your natural instinct is correct so you tend to it! However sometimes you feel that the complaining is just a way to get your attention and delay falling asleep. When this happens, rather than focus on what your child shouldn’t be doing, try shifting the attention on what they should be doing, which is being a big boy or girl and going to bed.
One idea which can work is making house rules, one of which can be going to bed on time at night- and every time your child does this, they get a reward. This reward should relate to the context and also to something they love… So perhaps they get extra snuggle time or another bedtime or morning story. Whatever works for you! This is reset every day, so they get another chance to gain this extra positive attention each day!
By setting a house rule for bedtime, hopefully your child will associate going to bed on time with positive consequences resulting in changed behaviour. Don’t expect this to happen overnight, but like any techniques and changes you might be bringing into your home, keep going with it and you will see a change. Consistency is key! Also, remember to think back to the actual behaviour by asking yourself ‘why is my child acting in this way’- which may well be they are simply wanting more attention. In understanding the situation and your child better, you will be able to implement these rewards which result in your child’s needs being met, but in a positive, mindful way.
You could also try some of the short yoga pose stories Jen wrote to help with transitioning into bedtime here.
Also see our page with mindful parenting activities, one of which is the Five Minute Journal for kids. This is also something you could bring into your bedtime routine and a nice activity which helps your child wind down once in bed by reflecting on what they enjoyed about the day (and getting that all important one to one attention with you too!).
We hope this helps and please reach out to us if you have any questions!
about jen armstrong
“My passion is to ensure the happiness and emotional wellbeing of individuals, children and families. Yoga and mindfulness have helped me greatly on a personal level, so I fully understand the power and positive influence it can have. Through my work in various educational and home-based environments, I have witnessed and proved the effectiveness of yoga and mindfulness techniques on individuals and, in particular, on children. Alongside the physical benefits, it can also aid emotional awareness and understanding. The beauty of Family Yoga is that it also helps foster family connections through shared experience and understanding, which provides a vital opportunity for parents to act mindfully for their children to observe and digest.”
Master of Science, Developmental and Educational Psychology (October, 2013)
Bachelor of Science, Psychology with Sociology (July, 2012)
95-hour RCYT Children's Yoga Teacher Training
200-hour RYT Ashtanga Vinyasa Flow Yoga Teacher Training
8-week Mindfulness based stress reduction course with beingmindful.co.uk
Trained facilitator in Roots of Empathy, The Parent Nurture Program, Teen Talk Parenting Program, Restorative Approaches, Motivational Interviewing and Solutions Focused Therapy.
3 years experience of Family Support Work / Parenting Support Work
4 years experience of mentoring and supporting young people.
Nutritional advisory course