Bedtime is tough. I enjoy the conversations and cuddling with my kids in their beds, but those are often few and far between. The tantrums, excuses, and intentional delays are much more common. I find myself scrolling through the internet searching for bedtime routines that make this time of day a little easier!
Here are the five best tips that help my kids wind down at bedtime:
1. Maintain a routine.
Kids expect routine — whether you like it or not. Pick a few things that your child will enjoy and be consistent. Does your child like to read? Have him choose a few books! Are lullabies soothing to her? Choose her favorite and sing the same one each night!
“A bedtime routine is an easy strategy that makes a world of difference in how quickly your baby will settle to sleep and how much support he’ll need to fall asleep,” says Megan Faure, author of The BabySense Secret.
2. Don’t overstimulate.
One of the biggest reasons kids have trouble winding down is due to overstimulation. Think about it, you’re running around chasing or wrestling your kids and their energy levels increase — making bedtime more and more difficult. Overstimulation is the enemy at bedtime.
The next point will cover relaxation techniques to do instead, but also remember that it’s important to put away all devices and limit screen time a few hours before bed! Here is more information about why it’s important to avoid screen time right before bed.
3. Practice relaxation techniques.
Your kids need SOMETHING to replace the stimulation, so practice relaxation techniques. Here are a few ideas: a warm bath, lotion massage, essential oils, yoga, or quiet reading time. Choose activities that encourage relaxation before bed. For my kids, they enjoy a few yoga poses and my daughter’s dry skin needs lotioned anyway, so a relaxing massage is a perfect end to her night!
This post from Natural Parent’s Network provides 66 more ideas for helping kids relax before bedtime, so find the techniques that would work best for YOUR children and try them out!
4. Choose a happy thought!
Sometimes kids lay awake at night because of their thoughts. They replay everything that happened that day or think about the day ahead with worry or anticipation. So one thing my husband and I do is to try to give our kids a happy thought to focus on before bed. This keeps their minds from spinning in circles. Keep it simple: a sunny day, jumping in rain puddles, swinging on a swing, an ice cream sundae, anything that gives your child something happy to hold onto as he drifts to sleep.
5. Weighted blanket
If all else fails, a weighted blanket is a great option! Like a warm, soothing hug, weighted-blankets give a sense of comfort and have been found to be a very successful tool to use at bedtime!
“The calming, soothing pressure that a weighted blanket provides can help children with processing disorders, or kids who just need a little help to fall asleep or calm down after a long day.” Read more about weighted blankets at WellnessMama.com.
Every child is different, so don’t give up! Keep trying to find what works! Remember, the key is to be consistent! After a week or two of doing the same thing and not seeing the results, try something new or implement a combination of these tips!
Tell us in the comments, what works for YOUR children?
Here are more articles on sleep.