For many parents, bedtime is not an enjoyable or peaceful experience. In fact, when you have small children, bedtime is often the most frustrating part of the day! When you have a child who does not want to go to sleep, or keeps getting out of bed during the night, it puts your patience and parenting skills to the ultimate test. Here are three tips to help your child get to sleep more easily.
Consistent, calming bedtime routine
A familiar and comforting bedtime routine can help get your 2-8 year old to sleep more easily. Children thrive on routine and a good one will not only calm them down, but will also comfort them with a sense of structure and familiarity. A warm (not hot) bath is often a good start as long as your child doesn’t find it energizing (some do!). This bath is not a time or play but rather a time to quietly soak for a bit, get clean, and relax. Getting into some comfortable pajamas and brushing teeth is a natural next step. Then, have your child choose a favorite stuffed animal or blanket and slide into bed. Doing these steps every night around the same time will help to promote calm and an easier transition into sleep.
Deep belly breathing
It’s no secret that deep, belly breathing calms us down. Deep breathing exercises help activate the parasympathetic nervous system resulting in a relaxation response. By having your child breathe deeply, and focus on their breath, you can help them calm down and relax for sleep. A great way to teach this is with a deep breathing video for kids (see below) like the one found in the Ninja Focus app. This video plays soothing music while it walks your child through the practice of belly breathing. Your child will love watching Brother Bunny belly breathe and feel inspired to do the same. Bonus? You get to do some deep breathing, too.
Bedtime story done the right way
Our last tip is to read your child a bedtime story – but it’s important to do it properly. If you’re going to read a bedtime story to your child, choose one that is low on action and read it in a slow, calming tone of voice. The last thing you want to do is energize your child with an adventurous story and lots of excitement in your voice. Not in the mood to read? You can turn to the Ninja Focus app for soothing bedtime stories like The Wooden Boy or Moon Princess. These stories were created specifically to help your child transition to sleep more easily.
If you are the parent of young children, and bedtime is a struggle, these three bedtime tips can help make a world of difference!