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Make a summary, describing the ways to solve the problems of putting young children to bed. Your account should not more than 120 words.

 
Conflicts between parents and their children at bedtime are common.. For adults, sleep is welcome rest. For children, it's lost time, time when they could be doing something fun like playing computer games or finishing a drawing of their cartoon hero. So the youngsters often resist it.

And in families where both parents work, the nightly ritual of putting the children to bed can be even more of a tussle. Most parents don't get home until at least seven in the evening, and there's little slack between bath, dinner, homework and bedtime.

Whatever the situation, a growing child still requires a decent amount of sleep, and for young schoolchildren and toddlers, that's between 10 and 12 hours a night.

But what happens when children fight it every step of the way, from taking a bath to putting on pyjamas to getting into bed? When they refuse to sleep alone in bed or wake up repeatedly, or need to be rocked for an hour before nodding off?

It's usually not hard to tell when a child doesn't get enough sleep.

"He can be irritable, whiny, more clumsy," says paediatrician Dr Leigh Shapleigh. "And when a child has any sort of behavior problem, it is just exacerbated by lack of sleep."

Children - especially small children - thrive on routine, so the more regular their bedtime is the better it is for the entire family.

Exactly when a child goes to bed has to be, determined by the parents, Shapleigh says.

"The trick is to decide what you want to do. If you want the bedtime at 7.30 or 8.30 or 9.30, decide how to get there."

Although many parents are consistent, the routine they adopt only results in long, wearying nights. They become caught in a trap they have inadvertently created. Their children rely on them to help get to sleep. Parents cajole, sing to them, rock them, rub their back -- only to have the little ones wake the moment they tiptoe out of the room. Quality time disappears, tempers are short, and bedtime becomes a civil war.

To frazzled parents who want desperately to escape that trap, Shapleigh suggests the method that worked for a number of families.

"You have to let them cry. Be there to reassure them. Leave a night light on, but be consistent. They understand your behavior more than they do your words."

Dr Richard Ferber, a paediatrician who is sometimes called the Dr Spock of children's sleep problems, assures parents that most bedtime conflicts are not serious, and they can be avoided.

Parents who choose to wait out their child's erratic sleep patterns will probably see them disappear, but that could take months or years.

Instead of waiting, Ferber suggests that parents take action, and after following a pleasant bedtime routine, put the children to bed, leaving them there even if they cry, but checking on them at specific intervals.

"There is no way to treat this problem without listening to some crying, but you can keep it to a minimum," he says.

Parents who are fighting the sleep battle with their children often complain of being tired, but forget that their children, who haven't yet learned to complain, are also tired.

"It is in your child's best interests to have uninterrupted sleep," Ferber says.

For children as well as adults, Ferber says, "sleep (serves) some restorative function for our bodies and perhaps for our minds, and it is certainly necessary for normal functioning during the day."

 
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Answer
 
Firstly, set a fixed time for the child to sleep and keep to it. Try not to persuade, sing or rock him to sleep as these actions will become habitual and eventually, the child will rely on them to get to sleep. Instead, leave him alone to fall asleep. Do not worry if he cries but be sure to return to check on him regularly. You may also try to leave the lights on for a night to reassure the child. Most importantly, you have to be consistent. Children understand your behavior better than your words. Of course, you may choose to wait for them to outgrow their irregular sleep patterns which will take a long time. ( 117 words )
     
ritual   a set of fixed actions and sometimes words performed regularly
     
nod off   to begin sleeping
     
exacerbate   to make something which is already bad worse
     
 
 

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