Getting a younger child to settle down in the evening, go to bed, and then actually fall asleep is a big challenge for many parents, and one they may struggle with nightly. Children of all ages need plenty of sleep to grow and develop. The same can be said for adults. I believe that the tactics used in this segment is just as applicable for us grown folks yearning for a good night of shut eye!
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Have a Routine
Expecting the body to go from full speed to a standstill without slowing down first is unrealistic. Set up a soothing bedtime routine to help your child get ready for bed and sleep. Whether that’s a bath, a cuddle or pillow talk. Do things in the same order each night so your child knows what to expect. Speaking of routine, getting up and going to bed around the same time, even on weekends, is the most important thing you can do to establish good sleep habits. Our bodies thrive on regularity and a consistent sleep schedule is the best reinforcement for the body’s internal clock
Limit activities that stimulate your child, such as playing and watching TV, in the hours closer to bedtime. Matter of fact, you want to reduce any light exposure from electronics two hours prior to bedtime. Our bodies depend on signals to tell them when to fall asleep and wake up, the two most fundamental ones being darkness and light. But we live and work in artificially lit environments and often miss out on the strongest regulatory signal of all, natural sunlight. So, keep your child’s bedroom dark. If she needs a nightlight, make sure it is of low intensity and that it does not directly illuminate on her. The same is true for kids who need the hall light left on: if it shines directly on her face, it will make it much harder for her to fall asleep.
Read To Your Child
No matter her age, reading to your child provides a great opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with her. Reading together will also instills a life-long love of reading. I think that if every adult was read to at night, we would all get a whole lot more rest.
Restrict The Napping
Make sure your child isn’t napping too much during the day. If she wakes up at seven o’clock in the morning, takes a three-hour nap at daycare and is being put to bed at eight o’clock in the evening, there is no way she’ll be ready to go to sleep. She simply won’t be sleepy enough! Limit naps to 30 minutes.
Scents are powerful — a simple smell can immediately trigger a powerful memory, place, or person. Scents have power to evoke emotions and memories instantly and can directly impact our bodies through our nervous system. Lavender essential oil is one of the well studied essential oils in terms of its relaxing effects. There is also Rosemary and Jasmine. Place a drop on the pillow and let the aroma do its job. If you want to be more hands on, make yourself a sleepy time pouch. Records indicate that Romans used to put rose petals in their beds for sleep, Abraham Lincoln used hops and the most commonly implemented one since the Victorian era is a pouch of lavender.