Going to sleep is tough. Even if I enjoy the cuddling before my children go to sleep, they are often in between the tantrums or statements and excuses not to go to sleep now.
When I am browsing the web or ask my Mum friends, it seems like children nowadays don`t like to go to sleep at all. I ask myself why is that? What I have to change or to do differently so that my little ones get more tired and want to go to sleep more easily?
Here are some of the results I have figured out can help to make bedtimes easier- for us Mums as well as for the children!
1) Establish and stick to a Routine
Children like routines- ALWAYS. Even if you are leading a sort of “alternative” household and you personally don`t embrace routines, children like routines – as they make them feel more secure. Pick a few things from which you know that your child enjoys and stick to them!
Does your child like that you read a book for him? Let him chose a book and you read it every evening! Does he like lullabies? Then sing one or two from him, best the same every night!
2) Don´t overstimulate your Little One(s)
One of the most important reasons which create problems for children to wind down is overstimulation. Think about what you play with your child close to bedtime- when you are running around and chasing him you create a situation of overstimulation making it difficult to calm down shortly after. Furthermore, it is important to stay away from all devices and screens before bedtime. Watching films or other activity on screens create overstimulation as well!
3) Know and Practice Relaxation Techniques to induce Calmness
When your children is likely to drown in overstimulation, use easy relaxation techniques to wind down before going to sleep.
A few relaxation techniques are: the famous warm bath before bedtime- that can be used also as a routine so that children know, after bathing they will go to sleep.
Furthermore, it can be an oil massage before sleeping, which many children enjoy to be massaged by MAMA in a soft way. At the same time, children are so able to unwind and find calmness inside.
It is also possible to read a quite story, possibly preparing the children mentally on going to sleep, like e.g. a story in which going to sleep is part of the story…
Here is an interesting article in which you can find many more relaxation techniques for children before going to sleep: http://naturalparentsnetwork.com/66-things-to-do-with-kids-before-bedtime/
4) Happy Thoughts- Calm Mind
Sometimes, especially older children lay awake at night due to unhappy or disturbing thoughts. Some children tend to think about everything that happened on the day or worry about what will happen on the next day with anticipation.
If this is the case with your child key is to give him one happy thought every time before bedtime, which keeps his mind from spinning in circles at bedtime or during the night. Keep it really simple with thoughts of a sunny day, rain puddles, swinging on a swing, eating an ice-cream or anything else which makes your child happy.
5) Weighted Blankets (Caution: Not to use for small babies who should sleep in a sleeping bag!)
Weighted blankets are a great option when nothing else helps. Weighted blankets give a sense of comfort like a soothing hug and have been proven to be a very successful tool for falling asleep for children.
It is said, that the calming and soothing pressure which a weighted blanket with around 10% of the child`s bodyweight provides can help children with processing disorders and help kids calm down and fall asleep much more easy.
I hope one of the above mentioned tips can help your child to calm down and make bedtime an enjoyable time of the day – for mother and child!
Every child is different so every way to wind down and fall asleep is different as well. Remember that consistency plays a very important role in bedtime routines – to build and keep the routine for the benefit of your child. After a week or two your child shall be gotten used to any newly established routine.