If you’re a parent, you know the nightly challenge of getting your kids to go to bed — and staying there. It’s not always easy, but helping them get a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your kids.
When children don’t get enough sleep it becomes much harder for them to control their emotions. They may be irritable or hyper, which is no fun for anyone. Kids who are sleep-deprived are more likely to have behavior problems, trouble paying attention and learning, and a higher risk of being overweight. So although it can be a challenge to establish regular sleeping routine, it’s important to do all you can to help your child get the sleep she needs. This post will share with you 7 tips and tricks to help get kids to sleep easier!
7 Tips to Help Get Kids to Sleep Easier
1. Work as a team
It’s important to discuss and agree on a sleep strategy for your child with your spouse, partner or caretaker beforehand and work together as a team to carry it out consistently. Otherwise, you can’t expect your child to learn or change her behavior. Come up with a game plan with everyone involved with watching your little one – grandparents, daycare providers, etc. Making sure everyone is on board will be key to your little one’s success!
2. Develop a Bedtime Routine
Routine is very important for children in order for them to thrive mentally, emotionally and physically. Establishing a bedtime routine is extremely helpful when trying to get children ready for bed. Regular schedules and bedtime rituals play a big role in helping kids get sound sleep and function at their best. When you set and maintain good sleep habits, it helps your child fall asleep, stay asleep, and awake rested and refreshed. If you are starting a new sleep routine for your child, make him or her part of the team by explaining the new plan if they are old enough to understand. For a young child, try using a picture chart to help your child learn the new routine, showing actions like changing clothes, brushing teeth, and reading a book.
3. Limit screen time before bed
It is very important to limit screen exposure 1-2 hours before bed. The blue light from televisions, tablets and computers can disrupt sleep patterns because it can suppress melatonin levels and makes it difficult to fall asleep. You can read more about the affects of blue light on our sleep patterns here. Prevent watching TV or playing on devices right before bed for the best results. An idea of an example bedtime routine would be a TV show, bath time, brushing teeth, reading a story and finally bedtime, leaving plenty of time in between TV watching and sleep.
This essential nutrient is responsible for numerous bodily functions, including sleep! Click here to read more about how to use magnesium to help establish a great nights sleep. This can be easily done either in a bath with Epsom salts (where to buy) or in a quick drink (where to buy) before bed. It helps to naturally relax the body making it easier to fall asleep.
5. Essential Oils
Essential oils contain natural plant intelligence. Pure therapeutic grade essential oils (not to be confused with store brands) have been found to reach deep into the limbic system of our brains, the part responsible for emotions, and can have profound physical and emotional benefits. This includes unwinding and releasing any unwanted thoughts and emotions before bed. Kids are just mini-versions of us and while we may not realize it, but their days can be filled with stress just as ours, which can make it hard to wind down at the end of the day. Essential oils can be very beneficial in helping to relax and decompress to prepare the body for a good night’s sleep. This can be done using homemade bath salts, by diffusing or rubbing on the vita flex foot points. My kids usually last no longer than 30-60 minutes before they are asking to go to bed! Recommended oils for sleep are: Lavender, Cedarwood, Valerian, Roman Chamomile and Orange. For the best results I use pure therapeutic grade oils. (where to buy)
6. One More Thing…..
Kids will always ask for that one last thing — hugs, a drink of water, a trip to the bathroom, just one more book. Do your best to head off these requests by making them part of the bedtime routine. And let your child know that once they are in bed, they have to stay in bed. Be firm but loving. After your regular routine set aside a few minutes for one last sip of water, potty trip and snuggle before tucking them in to sleep. If your child does leave bed guide them immediately back. Letting them hang out for a bit before returning them only reinforces in them that behavior. It may take a few days for this habit to stick. Which leads me to the final tip……
7. Be Patient
Remember that patience and persistence is key. Changing any habit takes time. Your child will learn new sleep habits if you stick to your planned routine. Your child may want to argue or complain about new bedtime rules. You must ignore these arguments and protests. Firmly and calmly let your child know that this is the new bedtime plan. It may be very challenging at first and may take several nights to get your child used to the new plan but with some persistence and lots and lots of patience, you will succeed. Remember that consistency is the key! For more tips of bedtime for kids checkout this book! And if you want a good laugh get yourself a copy of this or the parent-only version here!
Do you have any tips to help kids get to sleep easier? What would you add to the list? I would love for you to share them!