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How to get your child to go to bed - and stay there!

Using a sleep reward chart

16 October 2012 | Single Mum Blog | Alexis Eborall

Children's sleeping issues Stock Photo

My children are aged six and seven, and over the years I have experienced major problems with my kids in the sleeping department...

...they wouldn't stay in their beds all night!

I decided to introduce a "sleeping" chart a little while ago, and whilst its only starting to work on my 7yo, my 6yo is on his third chart.

This is what I have done, and Im sure you could adapt it for younger kids as well...

Originally I downloaded a chart from the parenting website that had 14 pictures of stars and moons.

I have made up a sleep chart of my own by hand using this chart as a guide, using smiley faces and moons. Doing it this way, you don't even need a printer - or a good hand at drawing!

printable sleep chart
You can download this chart and print it out - easy!

How it works...

In the morning, the kids colour the pictures in each night they sleep in their bed all night. I mark the date under the pic so i can keep track of the pattern.

As rewards, I have made up a "lucky dip" bag, (erasers, toy cars, writing pads, party favours). On the first chart they got a lucky dip as a reward for each night they slept in their own beds. At the end of the chart they got to choose a special treat (for example, my son chose a Happy Meal for dinner as one of his special treats).

sleep chart
No printer? No problem - grab a pen and draw it yourself!

My son has just finished his second chart - the same concept but i changed it to every 2nd night, and i would alternate "lucky dip and $1 for canteen snack". My son chose to sleep with me for the night as his reward.

He has just started his 3rd chart. I have 21 pictures on it - this time it's every 3rd night that he gets a reward. I am alternating these as well ($1, 20 minutes computer time, lucky dip) This time i have given him a $5 cap on his reward at the end of the 21 nights.

I will continue with this until they sleep every night, increasing the number of nights in between rewards, and using rewards that they are into at the time.

I hope these chart ideas help you if you are also trying to deal with your own child sleeping issues.

I now have other child behavioural charts that I originally got online, and then adapted to help with other issues - you can too!


About Alexis Eborall

Alexis Eborall is a single mum of four boys, aged 23yrs, 20yrs, 7yrs, 5yrs, and 2 grandaughters, 18months, and a newborn. Alexis' ex-partner is located interstate, so she primarily parents solo. Her 7yo son has epilepsy and ADHD, and her 5yo son has allergies, and although Alexis finds life as a single mum full of challenges, she loves her children to distraction!

Read more Blogs here...

This blog contains only general information, correct at the date of publication. For advice regarding your own personal circumstances, always seek individual advice from a qualified professional. Read the full Disclaimer here

What does it mean to be a single mum?Of course, the


are the most important thing in a single mum's life. Kids are the focus and always have been. But along with the children, there are other matters that can confuse a single mum's life.


plays a big part of a single mother's life, mainly because this is where a large percentage of single mums get their finances from. Centrelink are the source from where the

single mother pension

, or as it is otherwise known, the single parent payment comes from. The single mother pension is a subsistence amount, but just the same, it is money to live on, and so it is important, no matter if it is called single parent payment, single mother pension or whatever Centrelink welfare classes it at the time

Often, single mums come out of a


or defacto relationship only to find that their troubles have just begun, and find that their first step leads them towards Family Law - it's time to engage a lawyer.
There are more than just Centrelink finance problems to worry about, as mentioned before, but also

child custody

issues. Child custody is something that hits right at the heart of

single mums

. If a single mother's ex husband or ex partner has been a domestic violence perpetrator, the mum may be greatly worried about child custody. They worry that their kids won't be safe with their spouse, who has already proven to be abusive because they caused

domestic violence

, which resulted in a divorce or separation.

Even so,

Family Court

will often still order a form of child custody named

Shared Parenting

. Shared Parenting is a form of child custody division of time or parental responsibility between the parents. Mother's often look for a good divorce lawyer to try to avoid share parenting with an abusive ex-spouse after divorce, however in many cases Shared Parenting is still the outcome after the divorce, no matter how good the divorce lawyers have been. They will often settle for visitation at a contact centre or access centre where fathers or mothers are supervised during child custody access.

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