The Sleep Fairy: Six steps to get your child to sleep at night

fairyWhile the summer is nearing an end in the UK, and so tips for helping kids to sleep better in the summer may need to be kept ready for next year’s hot weather, there’s no doubt that general tips for improving youngster’s sleep are always welcome.

Sue Atkins of Positive Parents = Confident Kids has come up with these six simple steps to successful sleep, introducing the concept of the Sleep Fairy:

  1. Be reasonable: Make specific, reachable goals that your children can achieve. If you’ve got into a bad habit with your child, give them the goal of only waking up once in a night to earn a visit from the Sleep Fairy.
  2. Give clear instructions: Tell your child exactly what they have to do to get a visit. “When I say goodnight, you must stay in your bed and not call out.”
  3. Start by rewarding every night: You need your child’s behaviour to change if you’re going to have a good night’s sleep again so reward them every time for up to 30-days to change their pattern. Then, gently move to lots of praise or a sticker chart making it harder to get rewards for sleeping, but by then the new habit will have been established.
  4. Move to a more intermittent or random reward system: once you see the behaviour established, tell your children the Sleep Fairy must help other children who have sleep problems. The Sleep Fairy will still visit once in a while (randomly). Or if your child likes patterns and routines then tell them the Sleep Fairy will visit them every Friday night from time to time.
  5. Finally, let this system come to an end: once you get your regular hours of sleep help your child to write a letter saying thank you for visiting and helping them, and to say goodbye. Let your child know that the Sleep Fairy must go and help other children who need her now.
  6. Children go through stages don’t they? Some stages and upsets bring back old sleep habits and before you know it you’ve moved backwards again. So, bring the Sleep Fairy back. Then move back to every night for a week, going to intermittent for a week and then say goodbye again.

Sue says, “I used to love the Tooth Fairy and other magical things when I was a child and after a spell of sleepless nights with my two children I thought of the Sleep Fairy. The Sleep Fairy pops into a child’s bedroom at night sprinkling her fairy dust and waving her magic wand full of deep sleep and magical dreams.”

“The Sleep Fairy helps little children to sleep all the way through the night. When the child sleeps ALL night without calling out, fussing, or climbing into Mummy’s bed during the night, they receive a special treat from her under their pillow in the morning – just like when the Tooth Fairy visits.”

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