If there’s one question I’ve heard time and time again from the parents I work with it it’s this - Why Won’t My Child Go the **** to Sleep? The f-bomb is often dropped because by the time parents reach me, they’ve already passed through the stages of trying to remain all zen and peace-like. I’m about to share with you one of the secrets I share with these families that makes a shift and brings a sense of calm back to bedtime.
When you have a child who simply won't go to sleep, no matter how much money you’ve spent on room darkening shades and white noise machines, this question haunts you well into the morning hours.
These questioning thoughts turn into, “What is wrong with my child”, and then to, “What is wrong with me?” Sometimes, when feeling really vulnerable, parents admit they question if being a parent is what they really wanted.
These parents tell me they didn’t know they were signing up to have kids who put up a fight at bedtime, the evening hours they’d be dedicating to putting their kids down, and the emotionally empty space created by something we look so forward to - sleep.
I’ve had the pleasure of talking with a few of these kids. You want to know something - not a single one told me they did it because they intended to piss their parents off.
Most kids told me things like, “But I wasn’t tired,” or “It’s really hard to fall asleep,” and “I’d rather just play on my iPad.”
Two out the three, I can solve. The iPad, well, me too kid - me too.
Some kids really aren’t tired. And others really can’t fall asleep. The answer to these troubles and this question, “Why Won’t you Go the Fuck to Sleep?” may be answered with this simple solution.
Kids have a sleep personality.
Say What? My kid has a sleep personality?! Yes. Yes, they do. Matching both your daytime and nighttime routines to this sleep personality is a key to healthy sleep.
Here’s the real simple down-low. Kids have a sleep personality that is either closed or open. Each of these personalities has its own set of foundational needs, that when met, make bedtime occur more organically.
The open sleep personality, aka the “sensitive soul”, is open to the the intense and high-energy of others. These kids get their source of life-force and work-force energy to keep going in their day by taking in and amplifying that of others. They may be those who seem tired before entering a room with lots of people, then all of a sudden you are left wondering if someone snuck them a snickers bars, because they are bouncing off the walls. Or it may look like more like the discomfort of being bombarded by the energy everyone is giving off and your child prefers to sit on your lap the first 7 weeks of an 8 week music class. Another cue? Sometimes these kids won’t go to sleep, ever, by letting them learn to self-soothe.
You see, these kids have an underlying theme of not knowing when enough is enough. In addition, they may have difficulty differentiating the energy that comes from within from that of others. The open personality child is often so amped up from having their antenna open to the world, the seek help discharging this energy before being able to go to sleep.
The opposite of the open sleep personalty is the closed sleep personality. These kids most regularly wake up ready to go, and have a lot of consistent daytime energy. Particularly if they are enthralled in an activity in which they enjoy, they seem to keep going without pause. These are the kids which grandparents admire and say, “I wish I had their energy,” or are labeled as “the energizer bunny.” The closed personality has an underlying theme of wanting to finish what they started - even if it’s bedtime by your watch.
So, Why won’t these kids - the closed sleep personality - go the f*** to sleep? One of the answers is this - if they haven’t had enough physical activity in the day to wear out their internal energy source, they may refuse to fall asleep out of a real need to use up their energy source. This often occurs in the evening through either playtime and attention, or when this need is left unmet, through tears as a release.
Understanding your child’s sleep personality can help you plan your day and bedtime routine. If you’re giving your closed sleep personality a calming, slow bedtime and they still have energy to release - you’ve unknowingly signed yourself up for a battle at bedtime.
Have a child with an open sleep personality? Giving them extra downtime in the day can help their bodies be more rested and in a balanced state at bedtime. Giving them the space to get into bed before they are fully exhausted may be one of the keys to shift bedtime from battle to badass.
Can’t decide and curious about your child’s sleep personality? Take this Quiz (coming soon!) to find out your child’s sleep personality profile.
About the Author Stephanie Hope Dodd is an author, Heart-Centered Sleep Coach, and Soul-Filled Parenting Support Coach. Drawing on her MS in psychology and multiple certifications in holistic healing modalities, Stephanie teaches parents tools and techniques for removing emotional triggers and bringing peace to parenting.
In her successful online coaching business that helps families seeking support around sleep and personal transformation, Stephanie emphasizes her philosophy of finding what works for you and feels right for you, not what others tell you is right. Using various techniques—from EFT to breathwork to human design to belief modification techniques—Stephanie brings a powerful spin to parenting with presence, all with a clear understanding of psychological and emotional childhood development.
Stephanie is also a reiki master and teacher, a certified yoga instructor, a certified Matrix Reimprinting practitioner and Matrix Birth Reimprinting practitioner, and an EFT practitioner. She is a proponent of natural living and has years of experience using Eden Energy Medicine.
Interested in working with Stephanie? Schedule a free consult here.