Bedtime Resistance: Why is Bedtime Such a Struggle For Children?

When it comes to ending the day, if you are a parent this can be met with extreme bedtime resistance. The battle of bedtime is maybe something that has always been there or maybe it is something brand new. Either way, it seems to last forever. I’m sure you know the struggle. That is why you are here. Let’s take a look at why this might be happening.

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Bedtime Resistance Solutions

If you are looking for bedtime resistance solutions, you are not alone. There are many of us trying to figure out how to meet the individual needs of our child while setting up routines and structures. Take the solutions below, and then make sure to comment on how these would best help your child.

Before you start looking at how to quickly solve bedtime resistance with your child though, remember that identifying the issues is sometimes one-in-the-same as identifying the solutions. your child may have a specific reason for bedtime resistance, or they may have a few reasons for bedtime resistance. Read below to see if any of these could apply to your child.


Routines are very helpful for anyone. However, children thrive on routines more than we sometimes realize. If a child’s routine is off, that can throw their bedtime out of whack. Even something as little one of their normal activities time frame changing can throw them for a loop. The rest of the day may go smoothly but, come bedtime, they may be out of sorts.

If your child does not have a routine, I highly suggest starting one as soon as possible. Sometimes having your child know the expectations is all it takes to solve bedtime resistance. Involve your child in creating the routine. If you do that, it will lead to less resistance, especially if you have a high-spirited child that likes to be part of decision making. Ask them what they should be doing before bed- they may surprise you.

Try not to make the routine too complicated. Make it something simple that you can write down and stick on your refrigerator or somewhere where your child can see it. Stick with that exact routine for two weeks. It takes two-three weeks to establish a routine, so make sure not to be too quick to change it up.


I’m sure you have had your kids tell you they can’t go to bed because they are hungry. Sometimes, it is a ploy to stay up later but, other times they are legitimately hungry. If you offer your child something like an apple or crackers and they decline, you will know they aren’t truly hungry. If they take you up on it, they are hungry and will most likely go right to bed after their snack.


‘I’m thirsty’ is another common thing we hear when our kids are trying to stay up later. However, if they didn’t drink much water during the day, they may be very thirsty. Other liquids don’t give their bodies the hydration it needs so when it comes time to lay down they may actually be as thirsty as they say they are. Once their thirst is quenched, bedtime should be much easier.


Even if your child doesn’t outwardly show that they are anxious about something they may be. They may not know exactly how to describe what they are feeling but, they just know they can’t sleep. Maybe they are worried about a friend, or school, or they overheard you talking about some of your worries. A child can be anxious just as easily as we can but, we know what that feeling is called, they may not.

Activity Level

Come bedtime it may seem that your child is either overwhelmingly full of energy or, way overtired. The amount of activity a child has during the day will directly impact how well they fall asleep and, stay asleep. If it is too much or, not enough activity during the day bedtime may be a bit harder.


They miss you. There are many times kids will come ask you to sit with them or snuggle with them or, even ask for another story. Even if it seemed like you spent all day together, they need more. Children crave the closeness with their parents and them wanting you to be near them before they go to sleep is one way they show that.


When a child is overtired, their whole body goes into overdrive and it is hard for them to wind down for bed. They are cranky and obviously tired but, it is their body and brain that aren’t letting them sleep.


That nap at 4:00 or 5:00 pm that you just couldn’t wake them up from is sure to throw bedtime off. If a child has a nap before dinner they will most certainly be up later. Their body will not be ready to go back to sleep at their normal bedtime which, will make bedtime a huge struggle.

Natural Body Clock

This is probably the most important one. Kids body clocks are just like yours and mine. We all have times where we function the best and when we naturally wind down. Some children need to go to bed earlier and others are naturally up later. If you take the time to notice when your child naturally winds down, bedtime will go much smoother.

There are many reasons why there can be bedtime resistance. While it is frustrating, to say the least, it is important to remember that our little ones are people too. We as adults have a hard time going to bed when we should so, cut them a little slack and be open to listening to their needs. If you can do that, bedtime should be a bit smoother.

Which one of these can you use best with your child? Comment below!



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