When you think of a nine-year-old, you tend to imagine a kid who is a little more independent. This is someone who is one the verge of having two digits in their age, and are almost near the preteen phase. Some 9-year-olds can function quite well when home alone, but you do have to remember that they’re kids, and it’s possible for them to regress into what feels like an earlier stage of their life.
In particular, some kids around this age may have a hard time sleeping on their own. They may wake up in the middle of the night and sleep next to you. You may wonder why. This is a problem you had when they were two, not nine. What is going on here?
What is happening is quite common, and we will explain why.
Your Kid Is Getting Smarter
That’s one reason why this happens. Now, what do we mean by this? At nine, your kid is able to think more critically but hasn’t adopted complete rational thinking yet. As a result, they may visualize scenarios like a burglar coming in, or something bad happening if they fall asleep.
They may realize that they are still a kid, and they want the comfort of their parents to help them out. This is how many kids are programmed, and when they are aware from their parents, they may seek the help of them.
Often, not being able to sleep alone is due to a bad sleeping habit that needs to be broken, such as always worrying about grades, or gaming a bit too close to bedtime.
Is There A Psychological Problem To This?
You may wonder about your child’s anxiety. If they have bedtime anxiety, is it a sign of something bigger? Some deep problem in their mind like anxiety, depression, or a grand fear? Usually, that’s not the case.
However, because parents may want to keep the peace and make their child feel like they’re less in danger, they may still let their child sleep with them. While this has good intentions, the problem is when the child develops a habit out of it. You do need to break the habit and let the child have independence. How can you do this?
Steps to Help Your Child Sleep Alone At Night
- Make Sure They Are Having a Good Wind-Down Routine
At nine, your child may become a little more independent, and thus, have sleep rituals that are not so great. They may play a lot of games or watch TV too close to bed, keeping them all wound up. You may want to make sure your kid has a good wind-down routine going. Make sure all the lights are out, they take a nice, hot bath, and they enjoy themselves before falling asleep.
Make sure the kid is going to bed the same time every day, and make sure they aren’t using the bed for more than sleep. What do we mean by this? If your kid is jumping on the bed, eating snacks on there, and doing everything else but sleeping on the bed, it can make your child associate the bed with energy and not sleep. By having a good routine, your child can feel better. This applies to adults as well. If you can’t sleep, it may be time for you to consider your routine and stop looking at your phone so much. Adults have a worse problem sometimes.
- Have A Discussion On What’s Bothering Them
Figuring out why your child is having a problem is probably the best way for you to help. When your child can’t sleep, having a groggy conversation is probably not the best route. Instead, talking about what’s bothering your kid when you’re awake may be the solution you’re looking for. They may have worries and other concerns.
It’s important you talk about their worries and try to take them seriously, even if you find their worries to be a little silly. Sometimes, kids can be worked up about the silliest things, but you do need to take them seriously, as talking down to them can make the problem worse.
Once you discuss the worries, try to come up with solutions. You may end up talking to your child about what you can do to resolve some problems, and you may come up with solutions together. If your child is worried about something in school, study together or talk to your teacher. By tackling the root cause, you may be able to relieve any symptoms.
- Try Not To Give In
It’s important that you don’t let your child sleep with you whenever they’re having problems sleeping. Sometimes, that can be hard to do, and if you do it once or twice, it probably isn’t a huge deal. However, making it a habit is not the solution. Instead, you need to figure out ways you put your child back to bed should they wake up. Try winding them down again. Be loving, but also firm that it’s time for bed.
It’s okay for your child to feel this way, but they do need to realize that bedtime means bedtime. By practicing love that is firm, it can help your child get over their fear.
And remember, this is usually a phase, and they’ll soon be able to sleep alone.
- You May Need Help
If you’re still having problems putting your kid to bed, only for them to wake up with a problem, seeking help may be your best solution. There is no shame in talking to a counselor or a therapist. They may be able to determine if your child has a possible sleep disorder, a phobia, or another mental health problem that is preventing them from getting a good night’s rest.
Talking to a therapist isn’t a sign you’re a bad parent, but instead proving that you’re able to help your child deal with their problems.
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