Six in ten parents struggle to get their children to settle down at bedtime, study finds


It takes parents around an hour on average to get each child off to sleep every night – with 80 percent having to read up to three stories before they’ll settle down, research has found. A poll of 1,000 parents, with kids aged 0-8, found 62 percent of parents struggle to get their children settled at bedtime.

Just over three in ten crafty kids (31 percent) will ask mum or dad a succession of questions to keep them in the room, while 23 percent say they won’t be able to drop off until their special toy has been found.

Other stalling tactics include feeling too hot or cold (29 percent), claiming to be scared of the dark (25 percent), or hearing a strange noise (17 percent) – and almost a fifth (17 percent) will even claim they think there is a monster under the bed.

The research was commissioned by kids’ TV show, Hey Duggee, in line with the launch of its new Sleepy Time bedtime toy – which revealed that 37 percent of parents rely on giving their child a cuddly toy to help them fall asleep.

Child sleep specialist, Mandy Gurney, founder of Millpond Children’s Sleep Clinic, who is supporting the campaign, said: “We shouldn’t underestimate how important the small elements of a bedtime routine are.

“Just having a lively splashy bath with lots of toys, exciting stories, and chatting at bedtime, can prevent a child falling asleep.

“If parents can think tranquil “spa”, rather than fun “water park” at bedtime, they may be surprised how much easier bedtime becomes. In the hour before bed, dim lights, turn off screens, and keep things as calm and relaxing as you can, to enable your child to quickly and easily drift off to sleep.”

It also emerged that three-quarters check on their child up to five times per night – and 61 percent can’t remember the last time they had a full night’s sleep.

And seven in ten parents have suffered the consequences of their child’s nighttime awakenings, and have felt sleep deprived.

When a little one does wake up in the night, 28 percent will bring them into their own bed to help them go back to sleep.

But 13 percent of those polled, via OnePoll, will rely on some kind of audio soothing system, like low music or white noise, to usher them back to the land of nod.

Mandy Gurney added: “At 2am on Sunday, October 29, the clocks will go back by an hour in the UK. While some of us will be looking forward to an extra hour in bed or out on the town, parents of early rising little ones may be dreading the change.

“Just when they’d got their child to sleep until 6.00am, the clock change will play havoc with their child’s morning wake time, and this thought will send many parents into a spin.

“I know from my years of experience of helping parents with their children’s sleep problems, that early rising is probably one of the most difficult sleep issues to resolve.

“If parents start implementing these simple series of tips in advance, they should avoid their delightful 6.00am lark turning into a 5.00am party.”


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