Montessori at Home: Behavioural Strategies to Help Improve Your Child’s Sleep

Montessori at Home: Behavioural Strategies to Help Improve Your Child’s Sleep

With Evelyn Bonney, Sleep Consultant

Are you having trouble with your child at bedtime? You are not alone! It’s normal for children to want to be in control and push boundaries. It’s an important part of their cognitive development. So how do we as parents navigate this?

It’s developmentally normal for children to test the boundaries. Our job as parents and caregivers is to create safe, healthy, predictable limits and boundaries for our children. When you keep to those limits, your children feel safer and more secure. You need to re-establish the balance of control which is key to getting your child to bed and sleeping through the night.

House on the Hill engaged Evie, Founder of Evelyn Bonney Sleep Consulting to conduct a workshop with our parents. Evie is a registered nurse, founder of Evelyn Bonney Sleep Consulting, mum of 3 (including twins!) and a certified Sleep Sense™ Consultant. As a certified sleep consultant, with 20 years of nursing experience, she is able to support parents when they need it most.

So how do we make it easier?

Choices, Connection and Confidence

The 3 C’s = help children to adapt to changes more easily and help to instil intrinsic motivation.

  • Choices – Offer choices to your child at the appropriate times. This will allow them to feel in control of some situations and reduce overwhelm, while still giving you as parents, the space to implement strong boundaries.
  • Connection – Acknowledge your child’s feelings using empathy, compassion, and a problem-solving process. This helps them feel validated, heard, and connected which = less bedtime boundary-pushing.
  • Confidence – BE CONFIDENT and stay consistent.

Top 4 Tips

Below are the top four tips to ease bedtime battles. You can also use these strategies throughout the day to manage being overwhelmed and maintain boundaries.

  • Give them time warnings. Transitioning from one task to the next is hard for many young children and it’s completely normal. Giving them time warnings can be a very effective way to get their brains ready to make the transition to the next activity before it happens. For example, “In 5 minutes we are going to start putting the Lego away and then go out”. “In 5 minutes we are going to go upstairs to get ready for bed”. The amount of time you specify doesn’t matter with younger children, but the warning itself is very useful when implemented with consistency to help them get mentally ready for what is coming next.
  • Give them choices. Children LOVE being in control. Offering choices to your child at the appropriate times will allow them to feel in control of some situations and reduce overwhelm, while still giving you as parents, the space to implement strong boundaries. A proper choice has 2 equally positive choices. For example: Of these 2 pairs of pyjamas, which would you like to wear? Of these 4 stories, which 2 would you like to hear?
  • Tell them exactly what is going to happen next. Not only does this help foster language development but it can also help to prevent overwhelm and emotional dysregulation. Give them specific details like “we are going to go out to the shop in the car”. When you then approach the car, there is less chance your child will become overwhelmed about having to get in, as it’s not a new piece of information for them to process.
  • Be consistent and stick to your boundaries. Do the same bedtime routine every night! Don’t underestimate the importance of consistency. Being consistent and sticking to boundaries ultimately makes your child feel more safe and secure and less out of control of their situation. It is hard to say NO and stick to it when it leads to being overwhelmed but ultimately it ensures a secure bond between you as parents and your child.

What is the approach at House on the Hill with sleep and quiet time in our schools?

At House on the Hill, we understand the importance of consistency between the approach in school and at home.  We share with parents the approach to children’s sleep and quiet time in school as the children work towards independent sleep patterns.  

Below are the steps our Teachers follow during sleep and quiet activities: 

Infants in our Nido room

  • For our young infants in our Nido, our Teachers work with the parents to understand and follow their child’s sleep patterns.
  • For the older infants, rest occurs in the middle of the day.
    • The Teachers signal their sleep and quiet time by setting up the children’s cot/bed on the floor and laying their bedding down.
    • Once the children are settled in their bed, the lights are turned off and the curtains are closed and the Teachers stay close to keep an eye out whilst the children sleep.
  • Our Nido team works together with parents, considering each child’s unique needs, therefore creating a sleep environment that promotes children’s health and development.

Playgroup to Kindergarten Children

Sleep or quiet activity time is crucial for children at House on the Hill. This period of rest gives your little one a chance to break away from constant stimulation and calms their mind and body.

  • The Teachers start the routine to signal it is time for sleep and quiet activities.  The children collect their bedding, set up their cot and lie down.
  • Once the children are settled in their cot, the lights are turned off and the curtains are closed with soft music playing in the background.
  • This approach is consistent with the idea of teaching the children self-independence. By allowing children to fall asleep on their own, they learn to self-soothe and regulate their emotions. This can lead to better sleep for both children and parents.
  • With newly enrolled children in our schools, we understand they might need emotional support and a Teacher will sit next to them to help them settle during this period. However, often the children will see their friends sleeping and will want to follow and do it themselves.
  • For children who don’t sleep, a Teacher will take the small group to engage in quiet activities. These activities include colouring, puzzles, reading books, open-ended materials for independent play creations. The children will be under the supervision of a teacher during this period.
  • The range of sleep and quiet time is flexible and range from half an hour to two hours during the time frame of 1pm to 3pm..

For more information

Would you like to find out more or get some help with your home environment? Please reach out to Evie at