Dr Becky reveals why your kids procrastinate at bedtime - and how to get them to sleep on time

We know it's annoying, but there's actually a very understandable reason why your kids don't want to go to bed each evening

Child doesn't want to go to sleep
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Popular parenting expert Dr Becky has revealed why your kids procrastinate going to bed at night and has shared some tips on how to get them to sleep on time. 

Bedtime can often be the complete opposite of what it's supposed to be. When we're meant to be winding down from the day, settling into cosy pyjamas and relaxing our bodies and minds to welcome in rest and, hopefully, some precious deep sleep, kids seem much more apt to be jumping up and down, running around the house and just generally sparking even more energy than normal. 

Where do they get this energy from? As parents we're so often asking why we're so tired all the time and trying to incorporate foods for sleep into our diets to get a better rest. But children have no such worries. Babies wake up at 5am ready for the day and that's not even mentioning what happens when the clocks change, leaving sleep-deprived parents blindsided.

But parenting expert Dr Becky has now revealed why your kids might be putting off their bedtimes and the reason is actually very understandable - though it's hard to remember that when you're nodding off and they're refusing to calm down. 

"They are not giving you a hard time, they are having a hard time because they're anxious about the upcoming seperation from you," she said about kids procrastinating bedtime. "At night, sleep struggles are really seperation struggles.

"If a kid keeps asking question after question after question, they're often less interested in the answer than they are at getting attention from you, their parent."

So what can parents do to help their little ones feel ready to go to bed? As well as trying some easy ways to fall asleep fast that work just as well for children as they do adults, or turning to some natural anxiety remedies to combat a child's seperation anxiety, Dr Becky has a simple trick she 'promises' will work.

"The next time your kid is asking endless questions at bedtime," Dr Becky says, "Instead of answering them over and over and getting annoyed, pause and say this to your child; 'Wait a second; I just want to give you a really big squeeze!'"

After a lovely, big hug, tell them, "That felt good to really connect before bedtime."

This physical connection, Dr Becky promises, will fulfil the child's need for connection and help them reduce those feelings of anxiety around your upcoming night-long seperation, leading to a more on-time bedtime routine.

There are plenty of parenting tricks about better handling children's bedtimes, like how to check if your baby's bed is safe to how to get a baby to sleep, as well as the five signs that your kid is ready to be put to bed.

News writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is a news writer for Goodtoknow, specialising in family content. She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.