Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Study Offers Solution for Parents to Get Their Kids to Stay in Bed

July 21st, 2015     By Boys Town Contributor

Bedtime, Sleep

If you have kids between the ages of three and ten, you’re probably used to some sort of post-bedtime violation. “I need a glass of water!” is a common one. Or maybe it’s the three-year-old sneaking under mom and dad’s bed covers for a late-night snuggle.

For all sorts of reasons, kids often don’t like the idea of going to sleep. But this can be understandable. After all, in a child’s mind, sleep means saying goodbye to everyone he or she loves, and that can be a scary prospect. So it’s no wonder that many young kids hold out as long as possible before finally drifting off to dreamland.

The parenting experts at Boys Town conducted a study to see if there could be a simple way to reduce or even eliminate bedtime problems. What they came up with was both simple, effective, and fun.

The Bedtime Pass

The study’s participants were two normally developing male siblings, aged 3 and 10 years. Both children exhibited frequent crying out and leaving the bedroom after bedtime. The parents’ typical response to these bedtime problems was to ignore them or to issue a stern warning. Both parents agreed their strategies were ineffective.

As an alternative, the parents gave both children 5×7 inch cards with their names at the top. They then explained to the kids that these “bedtime passes” could be exchanged without penalty for one single visit out of their bedroom after bedtime. These visits had to be short and have a specific purpose – e.g. to obtain a drink, receive a hug, visit the bathroom, etc.

Once the pass was used, it had to be given to the parents until the following night. Any activity after the pass was used was either to be ignored, as with crying, or with a swift return of the child to the bedroom, conducted without eye contact or any other attention given (“the robotic return”).

The results were unambiguous. Providing the bedtime pass reduced instances of crying and coming out of the bedroom for both boys.

So if you’re having difficulties with your little ones’ bedtimes, think about employing the bedtime pass. Before you do, however, consider the following points:

• The pass seems to be most effective with kids between the ages of 3 and 10.
• It is best introduced at a neutral time (not at bedtime) and explained to your kids, so they know exactly what to expect.
• It is crucial that bedtime violations be dealt with dispassionately – ignoring crying and “robotically” returning interlopers to the bedroom.

We have taken these steps and other proven advice and built an email track on childhood sleep issues. Each email will give you information to understand your child’s sleep issues and the tools to help you address them. Click here to sign up.

Good luck… And let us know if it works by commenting on our Facebook page!

To view the study Click Here.

Download your own sleep pass here.

Related Posts

 

 

Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Three Parenting Areas to Master to Help Your Child Be Successfulhttps://www.boystown.org/blog/Pages/3-parenting-areas-to-master-to-help-your-child-be-successful.aspxBoys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Three Parenting Areas to Master to Help Your Child Be SuccessfulWe asked a Boys Town psychologist this question: What are the three things you wish every parent could master in order to help their children succeed? Here’s what she said. First, Be an Agent of Change.March 14, 2019Parenting AdviceWe asked a Boys Town psychologist this question: What are the three things you wish every parent could master in order to help their children succeed? Here’s what she said. First, Be an Agent of Change.Rachele Diliberto, Ph.D., Boys Town Nevada Behavioral Health Clinic
Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Piling on the Praise Can Bring Peace to Sibling Rivalryhttps://www.boystown.org/blog/Pages/piling-on-the-praise-can-bring-peace-to-sibling-rivalry.aspxBoys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Piling on the Praise Can Bring Peace to Sibling RivalrySibling rivalry: two words that can strike fear in the hearts of every parent with more than one child.Since ancient days (remember Cain and Ab...March 7, 2019Parenting AdviceSibling rivalry: two words that can strike fear in the hearts of every parent with more than one child.Since ancient days (remember Cain and Ab...Kris Hallstrom, Manager, Boys Town National Hotline
Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Nourishing Your Teen Goes Beyond Just Putting Plenty of Food on the Tablehttps://www.boystown.org/blog/Pages/Nourishing-Your-Teen-Goes-Beyond-Just-Putting-Plenty-of-Food-on-the-Table.aspxBoys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Nourishing Your Teen Goes Beyond Just Putting Plenty of Food on the TableIt’s in our family-style residences that our youth receive the care and guidance they need from trained couples called Family-Teachers®. Other kids receive the same high-quality care in Family Homes at several of our affiliate sites around the country.September 19, 2018Parenting AdviceIt’s in our family-style residences that our youth receive the care and guidance they need from trained couples called Family-Teachers®. Other kids receive the same high-quality care in Family Homes at several of our affiliate sites around the country.Father Steven Boes, President and National Executive Director, Boys Town