Why Your Child Doesn't Want to Sleep

Sometimes your child doesn't want to sleep. If this happens at home with your child, don't miss out on these tips!
Why Your Child Doesn't Want to Sleep

Last update: 03 April, 2021

In many cases, nights and bedtime can become a game for children, and torture for tired parents. Maybe your child doesn’t want to sleep and you don’t know why: they should be getting tired and fall asleep right away! However, even if you’re tired, sometimes adrenaline can stop you from getting a good night’s rest.

In this article we’re going to take a look at some of the reasons why your child doesn’t want to sleep and what you can do about it, both for their sake and for your own. Then, you can better think about how night routines should be from now on to encourage your little ones to rest.

Your child doesn’t want to sleep because they don’t feel tired

There is nothing worse for a child than going to bed when fully awake! They’ll do anything to stop you from turning off the light. They’ll ask for one more song, one more story, a glass of water…

To figure out if this is the problem for your little one, take a good look at your child’s nap scheduleIf they sleep too late in the day, it’s normal for them to not want to sleep at night, since they’ll have a lot of stored energy.

Shorten naps during the day, and play more in the afternoon. Then, they’ll be tired by the time you start bedtime routines.

They feel too tired

In the same way, when a child is tired, it can also be hard for them to sleep due to the levels of cortisol that their body generates. Children often get tired pretty early in the evening, around 6pm or 7pm. But parents may think it’s too early to go to bed, or want to spend more hours working on homework or chores.

Why Your Child Doesn't Want to Sleep

What happens in this case is that your child gets so tired that they receive a second impulse of energy, which leads them to feel tired but unable to sleep. They’re running on adrenaline and will need help to relax enough to fall asleep. The solution to this is an earlier bedtime, preceded by a quiet routine, at least an hour before they need to go to bed.

They’re too entertained to go to sleep

Young children never seem to get tired, and it seems like they have infinite battery life. Even when you’re more tired, it seems that they don’t. Everything entertains them, and they want to discover everything around them. They don’t want to give up discovering the world even when they have to go to bed.

If you want your child to go to sleep, they need to have the same routine every day. Above all, it needs to be a quiet routine that calms them down. Then, it will be easier for them to fall asleep when they need to.

They want to be with others

Sometimes, kids think that fun things happen at home when they’re in bed. They listen to everyday noises, siblings or parents talking, and they want to know what’s happening; They want to be a part of the fun too! If others don’t have to sleep, why do they?

They need their sleep, of course, but they don’t always understand that, so they want to have fun like everyone else. To prevent this from happening, try to keep the lights dim at home and have as little noise as possible when your child has to sleep.

Why Your Child Doesn't Want to Sleep

They’re scared of the dark or other things

The darkness of the night, the shadows from the lamp, the noises from the street… Anything can scare your child. They have a lot of imagination and it’s normal that someone with such an active mind thinks that some things are dangerous, even if they’re not. Don’t downplay their fears, and just give them peace of mind.

They need a bedtime routine to sleep

All children need bedtime routines, and they should also be soothing to them. It’s important that routines become habits. That way, when it’s nighttime, they already know what to expect. They’ll actively participate in the routine because they know what comes next and what is expected of them. Choose the routine that’s best for your family.

Your child doesn’t want to sleep because they want to be with you

Your children will always want to be around you. At night, with the darkness of the bedroom, they’ll feel a little bit of separation anxiety when you leave after saying goodnight.

If they could choose between sleeping alone and being with you, what do you think they’ll choose? They’ll always want to be by your side!


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.