This Mom is Going to Lose It. Please Help.

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Sleep tips for elementary aged kids

Topic today is sleep tips for elementary aged kids. This Mommy S.O.S comes from a friend of mine who is about to lose it. You know those S.O.S scenarios moms? When you don’t think you can take one more day of some behavioral issue? Yep, we have all been there.

That’s why I offered to put this out there to my wise “in the trenches with us” readers.

Here is her current struggle:

 My girls, ages 6 and 8, share a room.  Lights out is at 8:30 p.m.  Theoretically.  Then the fun begins. 

Lots of head stands, cartwheels, giggling, etc., which leads to accidental injuries, crying, fighting, intentional injuries, tattle-telling, ice packs, etc.  By the end of the night we have threatened almost every form of punishment possible.  They finally fall asleep around 9:30 or 10:00, about the same time as us, which makes life miserable the next morning starting with the dreaded morning alarm at 7:00 a.m.

It starts with tears and “I’m tired, I don’t feel good, I want to stay home, gymnastics is too hard, school is too hard, I don’t want you to leave me,” etc. 

Needless to say, I’m at the end of my rope because I know the issue has to do with not enough sleep.  

I hate that we have an awful night the night before and then an even more awful morning which can end with a teary good-bye and a horrible start to the school day. I don’t want either of us to start the day like this! 

I don’t know how to get my girls to go to sleep, so they can wake up happy! 

What does everyone else do?  Should I separate their rooms?  Put them in bed at 7:00?  Start waking them up at 5:00 a.m. so they will be tired by 8:00 p.m.? 


Moms, can you help? Any advice on sleep tips for elementary aged kids? I just hate it when I am going through hard times like this. Thank you! Us moms have got to stick together!

If you have a Mommy S.O.S and would like our readers to offer help and advice, email me at


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  1. 1
    Emily V. says:

    I have a six year old and he starts bed time at 7 pm. PJs, brush teeth, books and lights out at 7:30-7:45. We start our day at 6:30 am. We used to have a later bed time but he would get his second wind and have a harder time getting to bed. I’m too scared to have my kids share a room for the sleep aspect so they have separate rooms.

  2. 2
    Barb says:

    My girls 7 and 5 share a room and sleep in bunks. So, I understand your struggle!! Some things we have done that have helped…we started putting them to bed earlier. They seemed to get a second wind if we did a later bedtime even though they were tired! Sometimes I’ll do a positive reward for one of them ( if they helped clean up room, brushed teeth, and got pjs on quickly with no complaining) one gets to stay up a little bit longer to read another book one on one. Typically, the other falls asleep during that time in their bed. We have offered rewards for them if they go to sleep without us having to come in again. . .extra iPad time, or extra playtime for the next day. We have had to have them sleep separately as a last resort…one sleeps in bunk and the other in my hubs and my bed. Then we carry her back to her room once they are asleep. This is getting harder as they get older. Sometimes just staying in their room with lights off and talking to them helps, too. I have found that with starting school, there is a lot on their minds and they have a hard time shutting it off (just like some adults). It’s so important to have good sleep – and to have YOUR own quiet time before bed, too! Good luck!!

  3. 3
    Sarah says:

    When you are getting ready to be a parent, sleep is usually the last thing you thing of as an issue….but it’s one of the biggest, most challenging issues parents face. We have had our share of troubles at my house. I agree with the earlier bedtime. The more tired my kiddos get, the more wound up they get. I have 9 and 6 year old daughters who share a room. They are currently good at getting to sleep, but in the past we have had reward charts for staying in bed. I might also recommend a “check book” for each child. You can add minutes or money, or subtract minutes or money, from a running register based on staying in bed/falling asleep. Then, at the end of the week (or month as they get better at it), they can spend their money or minutes how on the activity or item of their choice. Whatever you discover, know that it will take some time to develop new habits. Just stick with it mama! You can do it!

  4. 4
    Holland says:

    Have your girls take a bath about 30 min before bedtime. But make it an Epsom salt bath. And if you really want to be smart about it, also give them some cal-mag (calcium magnesium drink). You can find it at mothers market or sprouts.

  5. 5
    Jessica says:

    Our daughter is only 2 but we find a big difference in her sleep patterns when she’s has screen time later in the day versus cutting it off in the early afternoon. (She’s only watching one 20 minute show every couple of days right now, but likes to play with our phones which we are a little more lenient with right now.) Also wondering if you can give them different bed times? If the younger one goes to bed even 30 minutes before, then the older one can have quiet time/book time, then knows she has to be quiet in order not to wake up her sister when she goes to bed?

  6. 6
    Jen says:

    Thanks for letting us share Lisa, if it were me, I think I would try one of two things:

    1. It seems like the younger is more sensitive to sleep and requires more sleep than your older one. My girls are the same, but it’s flipped, my oldest is much more sensitive to sleep and needs more than my youngest.

    That being said, I would definitely start by trying to put down your 6 year old around 745 separately. Read a book, do your routine, etc, while oldest can either do homework in other room or read a book.

    Then once your youngest is asleep, oldest can go in and sneak into bed without waking her. Maybe this is just the rule on school nights and weekends you can let them go to sleep together?

    2. If that is going to be impossible, maybe you can implement a set of rules for bedtime.
    For example, in bed at 8pm, bedtime routine together, and no talking or getting up after 8:15pm. At that point it’s lights out for youngest and oldest can stay up and read until she is tired?

    If they follow the rules you can do a reward system each morning. And if they break them, I would use moving the other one into the other room as a consequence. Could just take one night of sleeping apart to scare them into following rules. Although that one night would be a nightmare for you. But might be worth it in long run.

    Bottom line, whatever you do is going to be hard at first but so worth it in the long run.

    Hang in there and let me know what you end up doing!!!!!

  7. 7
    Lisa says:

    Thank you everyone for your comments. A couple of roadblocks for us are that we don’t get home until about 6:45 p.m. most days. That makes an earlier bed time nearly impossible. But that “second wind” theory makes a lot of sense. We have “bedtime talk time” every night to help them wind down, but that doesn’t seem to help. The longer we lay in bed, the longer they WANT us to lay in bed. Then it turns into a crying fit when we leave. I think I’ll try allowing them to read until they are tired, as long as they don’t talk. And if they talk, then I will need to move them into separate rooms for that night. The problem is which one to move? I’ve done it before, but neither wants to go to the other room, so there’s a lot of finger pointing as to who talked first. I guess they will have to draw straws or something. If that doesn’t work, I’ll try to put Stevie to bed 15 minutes early and let Sarah read in the other room. I love all of the suggestions. Please keep them coming!!!

  8. 8
    Michele says:

    Those times are SO tough. I wish I had answers when I my kids were younger! And when sleep is involved it’s always the WORST! If you’re not getting home until 6:45pm, I’m sensing the girls might not get downtime during the day? Quiet time to just “be”? Maybe taking away an activity or two from your weekly schedule will give them the time they need to free play and get the giggles and the wiggles out?

  9. 9
    Calee says:

    Do you play music for them? Our kids don’t share a room but we’ve found on vacation it’s very helpful to turn on calming music (they each have seperate music at home) to signify that playtime is really done. And you’ve got to stick to your guns- if you threaten, it’s got to happen.

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