Dr. Becky Explains Why Your Kid Might Put Off Bedtime

As a psychologist, mother of three, author and social media icon, Dr. Becky Kennedy has helped thousands of parents understand their child’s behavior. Commonly known as Dr. Just Becky, Kennedy is back again, giving parents not only why their children stop when it comes to bedtime but also how to recognize their true wants and needs and get them to sleep earlier.

In a now-viral video, Kennedy explores the nightly conundrum, explaining that your children aren’t just giving you trouble; they are struggling because they are anxious about the imminent separation from you.

“Sleep struggles are really separation struggles,” Kennedy said in the video and her caption. “When your child seems to be doing EVERYTHING to avoid bedtime… they are actually avoiding being separated from you. If your child keeps asking question after question, they’re usually less interested in the answer than in getting more from you, their parent.”

So what’s a parent to do? Kennedy said the key is to meet their real needs. “The next time your child asks endless questions at bedtime, instead of answering them over and over again and getting bored, stop and say this to your child: ‘Wait a minute. I just want to give you a huge squeeze [insert big hug here]. It feels so good to really connect before bed.’”

Kennedy explains that this established moment of connection is their “real need” and tends to reduce their need to procrastinate because they feel loved, seen and connected to this important moment.

Parents quickly chimed in in the comments to share their own children’s sleep struggles and thank Kennedy for her advice. “You’re like a magician! It’s like a magician for parents!! The same thing happens in the morning (before going down),” wrote one parent. “Love the big squeezes!! I also want to tell them that we will get to play more in our dreams together,” added another.

While every child is different and this approach isn’t bulletproof—especially for kids who are afraid of the dark, as other parents have pointed out—this helpful hack can help you make bedtime more manageable. . See other tips for [helping your toddler drift off to sleep]( so you can get some much needed Zzzs.

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