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Just two little tips on sleep for your preschoolers and school-age kids. The baby stage is tricky – I might deal with that at some other time – but I’m talking about little kids out of the nappy stage.

Every parent gets this from time to time – kids who can’t sleep. There they are standing in your bedroom, “I can’t sleep”. We tried to give them the impression, “Hey, no big deal. Everyone has the odd time when they can’t fall off to sleep. Have half a glass of water, go the toilet and then read until you’re sleepy”. Each of our kids had a bedside lamp and a big stack of books. Rather than barking at them to, “Turn that light off!” they could read as late as they wanted too – and it was never that late. It was so much better that they learned to solve their own problem, settle themselves down, and realise they don’t need mum or dad.

Here’s a simple little idea to help you get an extra couple of minutes snoozing when you have little kids. Before they can tell the time, they often wake up early and come through and disturb you before you are ready to start the day. You love them, but you’d love them more if they would just let you have another half hour in the sack, especially on the weekends.

What we did was use the timer on the stereo – most sound systems have a timer, if not just use a radio alarm clock. (There’s an iPhone app call Alarm Clock 4 Free that will start to play your music too). We would cue up favourite bit of music and set to play really loud. We’d tell the kids, when you hear the music, run though and jump into bed with us. If you don’t hear the music, it’s too early and you have to stay in bed. You know what? It worked.

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John Cowan

Writer, speaker and broadcaster, John Cowan shares his insight and opinions about the latest in parenting and family news in New Zealand. Hear John speak on radio stations every week throughout the country and regularly on national TV.  Follow @JohnCowanNZ on Twitter

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