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5 Year Old Tantrums at Bedtime: An Authentic Guide!

5 Year Old Tantrums at Bedtime: An Authentic Guide!

Sleep is one of the irreplaceable gifts given to humans by nature. Adults know this. But do the children know? Usually, even the children who remain calm in the daytime also show a tantrum at bedtime. Understanding and dealing with 5 year old tantrums at bedtime can be quite troubling.

In this blog, you’ll find an authentic guide about the different ways to deal with a bedtime tantrum, why such tantrums occur, and how children manifest these tantrums in different ways!

Dealing with a child misbehaving at bedtime can be frustrating for the parents. However, it is important to remember that they also represent developmental milestones. Kids usually lack verbal abilities or gestures to clearly express their distresses. They cannot also self-soothe themselves. What remains behind are the tantrums!!!

How to deal with 5 year old Tantrums at Bedtime?

In a vast majority of families, bedtime is the worst time of the entire day. This is true especially if there are little kids or toddlers in the family. The moment they see the bed, they start giving illogical and irrational reasons for not going to sleep. Some kids even become highly violent and aggressive. Does any of this sound familiar to you?

I have listened to many parents discussing infant tantrums at bedtime, 5 year old tantrums at bedtime and even a bedtime tantrum 8-year-old. We have deduced that there is no specific age range for such tantrums. Therefore, giving suggestions based on age cannot completely resolve the issue.

5 year old tantrums at bedtime
Sleep is essential for a child’s growth!

We have prepared an extensive list of some interesting and proven ways to deal with a bedtime tantrum. According to the age of your child or the severity of the tantrums, you can select any technique. These techniques have been developed by keeping the following queries in mind:

  • Can acknowledging the child’s emotions help with bedtime tantrums?
  • Can reframing the idea of sleep into kids’ minds be helpful?
  • How a regular sleep schedule can help your child?
  • Why using screens before bedtime is a bad habit?
  • Is giving kids choices a good way to deal with bedtime tantrums?
  • Can soothing music and scents help with bedtime tantrums?
  • How a full tummy can help in sleeping early?
  • Can snuggling stop bedtime tantrums?
  • Can bedtime tantrums stop if you deal with a child’s fear of darkness?
  • How rewards can help in stopping bedtime tantrums?
  • How daytime napping is linked with bedtime tantrums at night?

Can acknowledging the child’s emotions help with bedtime tantrums?

As adults, we have been experiencing a routine-based lifestyle for many past years. However the situation is completely different for the kids. They have to adjust to the ever-changing demands of getting older day-by-day. Therefore, it is the parents’ duty to understand the emotions of the children.

A small trigger can lead to emotional outbursts in kids. Even adults are the same sometimes. Maybe your child is full of “No’s” that he hears the entire day. Or maybe he is having some difficulties in adjusting to the school, away from you. There can be many reasons for the meltdowns at bedtime.

Parents need to acknowledge all the emotions of their children. Show him that you can understand that he is angry, afraid, sad, or whatever he is experiencing at the moment. Once the child will accept your empathy, he’ll be more likely to comply with you. He’ll listen to you. The tantrum will also subside eventually and will never occur again. But, the key is your CONSISTENCY in acknowledging your child’s emotions daily.

Can reframing the idea of sleep into kids’ minds be helpful?

Perhaps it is time to change how your child sees sleep! Parents know that sleep is important, but do the kids know? Are we unintentionally making our kids think that sleep is a monster for them!! Unfortunately this is true in most of the cases.

You should tell your kids that sleep is a fun activity as well. Let them know that they need sleep and it is essential for them. For instance, I always tell my 5 year old that “You’ll be fresh as a princess after you’ll wake up!” Even when she comes to me after waking up, I ask her “See! aren’t you feeling fresh as a princess?” Her answer is always in positive.

You can use bedtime story and poems to let the kids know the benefits of sleep and sleeping soundly as well. Bedtime struggles will not occur and toddler bedtime tantrums will also subside. Eventually, your child will enjoy a good night’s sleep.

How a regular sleep routine can help your child?

A consistent bedtime routine is a baseline on which the entire sleeping habits of kids can be determined. There are no high-tech routines that you should follow. Simply go for brushing their teeth, reading a book/poem/song, and then cuddling to finally sleep! Also, keep a specific and fixed time to take the kids to bed daily.

This should also happen on weekends for small kids. This is important because small kids need to develop a routine and gaps will take you and kids back to the starting point! So always go for a consistent bedtime routine.

5 year old tantrums at bedtime
Consistency is the key for sleeping routine!

The important aspect is consistency! What some parents do incorrectly is to follow the routine and timing for a few days and then discontinue it. After some days, they again go for the routine and want the kids to follow immediately. This is an impossible task for toddlers and infants due to their developmental ages. Their brains are not as hard-wired as those of adults. Therefore, they burst out and parents experience tantrums such as 5 year old tantrums at bedtime.

Why using screens before bedtime is a bad habit?

Bulk of research evidence can be found throughout the world that shows screen time harshly affects the sleep of kids, not to mention even adults. Do not allow your child to watch TV, mobiles, tablets, laptops or other digital devices at least one or two hours before their bedtime.

5 year old tantrums at bedtime
Screen time should be limited!

If you ask about the reason: it is Artificial Light Exposure! Screens emit artificial light. This light can affect the internal clock of the user’s body. Most of the time, this artificial light is the blue light that is especially deteriorating for sleep in children. This is the reason most toddlers throw tantrums at night.

Is giving choices to kids a good way to deal with bedtime tantrums?

Toddlers and children like to be in charge of their every little decision. You can use this instinct according to your ways. Offer them choices related to different aspects of sleep and bedtime routine. However, make sure that all the choices are the ones that you want. In this way, whichever choice they’ll make ultimately you’ll be in charge and they’ll fall asleep early.

5 year old tantrums at bedtime
Giving choices at bedtime makes children happy!

However, be sure to give them close-ended questions. This will ensure that kids won’t stray away from the major topic. They won’t also be able to ask for unrealistic choices and power struggles would not occur. The choices that you can put forth can be:

  • Ask them which pajamas they want to wear from the two options you have presented.
  • Allow them to choose a story from the two stories that you present.
  • They can be allowed to choose one stuffed animal or toy from the given options.
  • You can also ask them the order in which they want to complete their bedtime routine. For example, if they do not want to bath and brushing teeth is all they want, you can agree to it.

Can soothing music and scents help with bedtime tantrums?

Soothing scents can be used in the bedroom such as diffusers or air fresheners to relax the body of the children. If you have older children, you can also apply soft-scented essential oils to their bodies. When their bodies will be relaxed, they are more likely to fall asleep without throwing tantrums at all. Sprays can be sprayed on pillows or linens to give a comforting sleep experience. For example, you can choose from:

Using soothing music such as lullabies have been a traditional and ancient approach for kids. The music should be loud enough so that the child can hear it clearly. However, it should also be soft enough to not excite the child. BEREST Baby Sleep Soother Sweet Bunny is the best choice when it comes to lullabies.

An expert tip: Use the same lullaby/tone when making the child go to sleep. Eventually, your child’s brain will register that lullaby/tone as a relaxant. In future, that lullaby/tone will make him/her stay calm and go to sleep fast. This will improve sleep quality too.

How a full tummy can help in sleeping early?

Of the different issues that lead to 5 year old tantrums at bedtime, an empty stomach is the most important one. A hungry child who cannot tell you that he is still hungry is like a timebomb that can explode at any moment. Therefore, experts suggest that parents should always ensure that the infant/toddler/child is full before taking him to bed.

If you are a mom and facing sleep deprivation for your baby, focus on his/her feeding habits too. A full tummy allows the baby to enjoy more sleep. It is also important for a child’s development. So, if you want to avoid toddler bedtime tantrums, it’s time to make new rules regarding eating.

Can snuggling stop bedtime tantrums?

Touch is a huge gift that nature has given to us. A mere pat on the shoulder can work wonders for people. Even when a baby is born, doctors go for immediate physical touch between mother and baby. This warmth that the mother’s body can give to the baby is irreplaceable in this world!

The same mechanism can be applied to sleeping. Try to spend a few minutes with your child before he goes to sleep. Snuggle him and talk about his day. Even if the two of you remain silent, this can be very soothing for the child too. The strong parenting attachment that touch can promote cannot be expressed in words. Try this technique and see how 5 year old tantrums at bedtime vanish altogether.

How rewards can help in stopping bedtime tantrums?

Rewards represent a way to encourage the positive behavior of kids. It also motivates them to continue the positive behavior on regular basis. The tip is to praise the child immediately when he wakes up. Tell him how proud you are of him!

5 year old tantrums at bedtime
Give rewards to children for good behavior!

You can also go for tangible rewards. For example, tell the child that if he’ll go to sleep without showing any tantrums for three days you’ll take him to his favorite snacks bar. With this, you can gradually increase the number of days.

Receiving such rewards will make the child look forward to the upcoming nights. He will also feel more in control and sleep time will become a special time for him.

How daytime napping leads to bedtime tantrums at night?

Daytime or morning napping is incredibly important for the proper growth of infants and toddlers. This is true for the growth of both the body and the brain. Experts suggest that children should take regular naps in the morning. However, the problem arises when the duration of the naps becomes too long. Similarly, if the child takes a nap very late in the evening then this will disrupt his night sleep.

5 year old tantrums at bedtime
Daytime nap is also important!

Due to late evening naps, the children are usually fresh and active at night time. Therefore, they do not want to sleep. When the parents force them to go to bed, a tantrum is the evident outcome. This is one of the major reasons for 5 year old tantrums at bedtime.

Can bedtime tantrums stop if you deal with a child’s fear of darkness?

Sometimes kids show tantrums against sleeping because they are simply afraid of the darkness. This is true regardless of whether the child is sleeping separately or with you. Therefore it is important to address this issue on immediate basis.

If your child is having darkness issues in room, try using homemade sprays and label them as Bravery Sprays or whatever your child can connect with. This will allow your child to become the leader and be in control of the situation. You’ll be empowering your little ones against the darkness and they will no longer be afraid. Voila! No tantrums eventually and peace for you!

5 year old tantrums at bedtime
Children are usually afraid of dark!

The whole family can play important roles here. An older sibling or older child can talk and teach about brave behavior to the toddler. Family members can tell this such fears are perfectly normal and we also experienced them as a child. The child’s room can be converted into a wonderland for him. Night lights such as Gummygoods Squeezable Gummy Bear Night Light can prove to be very helpful for kids.

Why do Toddlers throw Bedtime Tantrums?

Every kid has unique personality traits and habits. In the same way, every parent and parenting style is different from others. Therefore, overall every family differs. Thus, it is difficult to say that there are certain exact reasons for 5 year old tantrums at bedtime.

However, researchers have reported the following reasons/causes as the major causes of a child misbehaving at bedtime:

Lacking routine for sleep

Lack of a sleeping routine is among one of the major causes of bedtime tantrums. If a family does not stick to a consistent routine for sleeping, then kids feel frustrated every time.

Excessive screen time

Watching screens before sleeping can also cause disturbances in the daily routine. As a result, instances of 5 year old bedtime battles occur.

Extreme tiredness

Too much tiredness also makes the toddler fussier and he/she refuses to sleep altogether.

Separation anxiety

Separation anxiety lies at the root of many childhood tantrums. Bedtime tantrums are also the same. The child realizes that he has to sleep in a separate room. He feels anxious about separating from his parents, especially his mom. An infant tantrum at bedtime is also largely due to this reason.

5 year old tantrums at bedtime
Separation anxiety is a truth!

Different sleeping times for different children

Not making all children go to sleep at the same time is also a major cause of 5 year old tantrums at bedtime. Toddlers see that elder siblings are awake but they have an earlier bedtime. They want to stay awake with them. Therefore, toddler bedtime tantrums occur.

Fear of darkness

Nightmares or fear of the dark can also lead to a 14 months old being hysterical at bedtime. This is also why kids wake up every now and then throughout the night.


Sometimes children cannot simply control their impulses. They break down and show tantrums just before going to sleep unconsciously.


An illness can also make the child more demanding and fussy. For example, if the child has caught a cold he may not want to sleep alone. He wants his mother next to him. Making him sleep alone will eventually lead to bedtime tantrums.

How Kids Manifest A Tantrum at Sleeping Time?

No matter what the age of the kid is, bedtime battles are tough experiences for every parent, especially every mom. Childhood is a transition time and a phase of rapid developmental changes. For a child, such rapid changes can easily cause anxiety and frustration. What’s worst is that they have no self control and cannot productively manifest these feelings. As a result, the situation becomes even more aggravated.

The same is the case with 5 years old children. They kids are tired. However, they do not want to go to bed as well. At this age, they do not realize that sleep is vital for their growth and development. This is why most of such experiences occur out of nowhere and without any reason at all!

There are different ways in which children usually manifest their a tantrum. Some of the manifestations are quite similar to other tantrums. However, some are unique to the tiredness related to sleep and bedtime routine exclusively. Some examples are as follows:

  • Crying.
  • Screaming.
  • Getting in and out of the bed every now and then.
  • Slamming the door of the bedroom, especially if it’s locked.
  • Throwing things at the door.
  • Hitting the parents.
  • Fighting unnecessarily with other siblings.
  • Asking for water over and over again during bedtime routine.


All in all, dealing with 5 year old tantrums at bedtime can be quite easy if you can grasp the reason completely. Once the issue is resolved, both parents and children will be at ease and children will go to bed and fall asleep easily!

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About The Author

Affaf Amjad

Having an MPhil in Applied psychology and being a mother of three kids, I have always tried to try and test different psychological interventions and approaches in the day-to-day routine of my kids. Sharing my results and effective strategies with parents around the globe is the my main aim as a writer.

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