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I have a daughter who worries a lot. She overwhelms herself over the smallest things sometimes and it especially affects her at bedtime.
My little boy has so much energy that never seems to run out, even at night. He has a hard time lying still and will get in and out of bed until I’m finally able to help him relax.
If you have children that can’t seem to wind down at bedtime, here are some ways I’ve used on my own kids to help them relax and go to sleep.
1. Create a routine.
Kids thrive on routines. Besides having them go to bed the same time every night, including the weekends, pick a few things your child enjoys and be consistent. If your child likes to read, let him choose a few books. If lullabies help soothe her, choose her favorite and sing them to her. My little boy has a few favorite songs he likes sung to him. I’ll play the music very softly in the background and sing a song gently to him and he's usually asleep before the song is only half over.
2. Don’t overstimulate them.
One of the biggest reasons kids have trouble winding down at bedtime is overstimulation. If you run around chasing your kids, their energy levels will increase, making it more difficult for them to relax. It’s also important to put electronic devices and limit screen time a few hours before bedtime.
3. Practice relaxation techniques.
To get your kids to wind down, give them something that will help relax them. Some ideas you can try are a warm bath, a quiet reading time, lotion massage, or essential oils. My daughters and I have started taking yoga and we do a few poses before bedtime and that has helped. We’ll also massage each other’s hands with nice lotions and that also helps to relax them.
4. Help them have positive thoughts.
Sometimes kids have difficulty going to sleep because of their thoughts. They replay that day or anticipate the following day. So my husband and I will try to help them think of happy thoughts to help their minds stop from spinning. We keep it simple and bring up things like: playing a game, running under a sprinkler, an ice cream cone, any thought that will make them happy, peaceful and relaxed so they can drift to sleep.
5. Journaling or drawing
I know when I have a lot on my mind, I’ll write it all down to get it out so I’ll be able to switch it off and get some rest. This is true for my kids too. Writing or drawing their thoughts helps them get out of their head and makes anything their worried about seem less scary.
6. Use a weighted blanket.
When I was a child, this was something that always helped me fall asleep. I use it now for my children and my daughter said it was like a big warm hug. It provides a sense of comfort and it’s been very successful.
Every child is different, so if one strategy doesn’t work, try another. The key is to be consistent. After a week or two of doing the same thing and it’s not working, try something new or a combination of these ideas.
Has your child had trouble falling asleep? What have you done to help them?
Hello, I’m Kelly, a regular contributor on this blog. I live in Pennsylvania with my loving husband and our five beautiful children. I have a background in early childhood education, but I am currently homeschooling my kids. From pregnancy to postpartum to toddler life, I love sharing advice with other moms who are having a challenging time with this crazy but wonderful role of motherhood.
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