FOR parents with children who refuse to go to sleep, bedtime can be a battleground – a draining round of tears and tantrums every 24 hours.
The experience can even leave mums and dads suffering from depression as they reach the end of their tether.
But a free course taking place at Sheffield Children’s Hospital next Monday aims to help youngsters with sleep difficulties and their parents get a good night’s rest.
The course provides tips and strategies to change children’s behaviour and make bedtime less of a nightly drama.
Sleep practitioner Vicki Dawson, who runs the Sheffield courses on behalf of the Children’s Sleep Charity, said the course has a ‘really high success rate’ – and that she’s delighted the session is returning for a third time.
“There’s very little support for children with sleep issues, unfortunately,” she said.
“I think because most parents feel like they’ve tried everything, they don’t know where else to turn, and I think they find it helpful to hear other parents are going through something similar.
“We’ve seen parents on medication for depression and others who have had to finish work because they just can’t function any more.”
Taryn Edge, aged 33, of South Anston, Rotherham, found success on the course last year after reaching ‘breaking point’ with her daughter Gracie, then four.
“Every night there would be a massive battle, everyone would be in tears and by midnight, Gracie still wouldn’t be in bed,” she said.
“I’d tried everything I could think of.”
The course taught Taryn to devise a strict morning routine for Gracie, waking her up at 6.30am each day.
“I would absolutely recommend the course,” she said.
“I think the most difficult thing is that many parents start to think it’s normal to not get to sleep.”
Vicki added: “We explain to parents about sleep cycles and how to create a good bedroom environment.
“We also try and bust a few myths. For example, we tell people not to try and wear their children out before bedtime – exercise can actually make them more lively.
“Children’s sleep problems have a massive impact but there’s not much funding for it. That’s why it’s important to raise the profile and keep people coming to the courses.”
The course runs from 9.30am to 2.30pm. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a place.