Child psychologist reveals how to get your kids to go to sleep

It's the holy grail of parenthood - getting a full night's sleep.

But in order to attain that - first, you need to actually get your kids in bed.

Mother-of-two Sera Devcich says her child comes up with any excuse to delay her bedtime.

"Well, the youngest one at the moment, her favourite delay technique is to get me to say goodnight to all of her body parts, and I mean every body part," she told The Project on Wednesday.

"'Good night hair, goodnight head, goodnight eyes, goodnight nose, goodnight teeth…'"

"I got to the final toe the other night and I was like, 'Thank god that is over - goodnight baby toe', and she just sat back up and she was like, 'Goodnight toenails' and I was like, 'Am I so worked by a toddler that I'm going to say goodnight to 10 toenails?', and the answer to that question is, 'Yes."

Child psychologist Emma Woodward is a mother of four boys and says it's a growing progress.

"To be honest with you, we still haven't gotten it perfected but the thing to remember is kids won't be kids forever."

Woodward says as frustrating as it is, there are measures you can take to improve your child's sleeping habits.

Her top tips include: 

  • a decent bedtime routine 
  • a wind-down routine
  • no screen-time two hours before bedtime
  • no exercise two hours before bedtime

"So the thing that kids need to get to sleep well is a chemical called melatonin," she said.

"And cortisol - which is a stressed hormone released when we're exercising, is the antithesis of melatonin. 

"So we want to make sure that everything is relaxed and settled so we can get in tune with their natural sleep rhythm.

"And that's the crunch point really - is making sure they're ready to go to bed, when we want them to go to bed."