Helping Children Sleep Better. 5 Things you may not have thought of.

Getting 6 kids to bed should be an Olympic sport, and I when I do it right, I think I deserve the Gold Medal.  There are simple things that I know work well when I do them but once life gets busy and I get distracted with other things, it all falls apart -and I feel like the worst mum in the world.

Bedtime can be a time to be very present with your children and leave a long-lasting impression on your children as a very special time of connection, security and love.  Once you set this intention for bedtime, you will have a different approach and things will flow much better.  Bedtime will be something you all look forward to instead of something that you resist and fight with.  Let’s take bedtime from conflict and resentment to an opportunity to connect and nurture everyone, including you.

This question often comes up when chatting with mum’s because so often we go into battle with our kids instead of taking a breath and looking at the bigger picture.

The fact is, if you want to change your children’s behaviour, you need to look at the bigger picture.  I believe that bedtime has become a burden for three key reasons:

  1.  We find it hard to be in the moment.  We are over-tired and we can’t let go of the ‘other important things’ running around on our to-do list in our head.  As you learn to be more present you will enjoy bedtime.  If you are wound up trying to put them to bed, they will agitated and not feel secure to relax and let go to sleep
  2. Our kids miss us.  If you have been busy all day, your children have been at daycare or school, then it maybe the only time, they truly have your attention to just be together is bedtime and so a short story is simply not enough.  Imagine how much they miss you if you have been busy all day and they haven’t really had a chance to just chill out with you.
  3. Our children are simply not burning enough energy during the day.  Most children are simply not getting enough time running around to burn off the energy they need to. TV, video games, ipods, ipads, trips in the car are all minutes and hours that children are sitting still and not being active.  They need more time burning energy.  A lot more.

Here’s 5 simple ways to improve bedtime:

  1. You need to think Rhythm as well as Routine.  A lovely bedtime routine is great, but if your children are restless because they still have the energy to burn they are not going to go to bed without a fight.  An evening walk after dinner could be the answer or making sure they are getting a lot more exercise and activity during the day.  We need to have plenty of time expending energy and connecting outwards (socialising for example), so that we are ready to turn inward and wanting some quiet down time.
  2. Allocate yourself adequate time for bedtime.  If you’re trying to rush it, the children will pick up on this and find it difficult to switch off.
  3. Think of bedtime as an opportunity to teach your child(ren) to unwind, slow down and switch off.  This is where you’re Routine comes in.  So after they have had plenty of exercise and activity, create a lovely routine (always maintain some flexibility within this routine as this is also an important quality to nurture in children) that helps them to unwind, switch off and be ready for rest and sleep.  Make sure their bedroom serene and not full or stimulating toys and colours.  Noisy, stimulating toys should be kept in another space.  Help their bedroom to be  place of retreat, peace and switching off.   Keep their bedroom for quiet play.  HEre are some ideas:
    1. Soothing bath with some lavender
    2. A story to tell them about their day (you can use animals in the story).  This helps them process their day and let it go.
    3. A couple of quiet stories (choose stories that will help them relax and quieten their mind – not something exciting and boisterous)
    4. Massage is well researched and proven to help babies and children sleep better.
  4. Spend some extra time during the day doing quiet things together.  I believe that many children are craving time with their parents, especially with their mother, and if we spend a little extra time with them during the day, they are more content at bedtime.
  5. Regular bedtime is important, and so is regular wake time.  To reset your child’s circadian rhythm when they wake in the morning take them outside for some fresh air and sunlight.

So if you change your attitude and approach to bedtime and tweak a few things here and there you will surely find bedtime becomes easier, more enjoyable and a good chance to bond with your child in this busy world.

Comment Below the one thing that you think will make the biggest difference to you and please join our Facebook Group for more inspiration and support https://www.facebook.com/groups/empoweringmotherhood/

Also you can sign up for our Free Group Clarity Sessions here.

Do you need to unwind and re-learn to switch off and rest so that your children can do it, too?   I can help you with this if this is you.  You can book a free Clarity Session to get you started.  https://calendly.com/darlingtontribe/30min

 

 

Tara x

 

 

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