One of the greatest stressful challenges that most parents face is getting their child to bed. It is important to establish the new routine of earlier nights before your child gets too exhausted.
So here are some tips for easy ways to get your child to the land of dreams…
As bedtime approaches, prepare your child‘s body for rest by turning the lights down a little, discouraging stimulating activities such as TV, computers and loud music. You may like to burn some calming lavender.
Try to encourage your child to enjoy calming activities such as reading stories, jigsaws and colouring rather than rough and tumble play.
You may like to practise some relaxation techniques or simple yoga stretches. (You can download some relaxation exercises from http://www.relaxkids.com/ in the kids magic corner.
- Establish a routine that your child becomes familiar with and knows he has to stick to no matter how much he resists – make a decision what time he goes to bed and stick to it.
- Let the routine include a lavender bath, a milky drink/fruit picnic, brushing teeth, toilet, and a soothing bedtime story (you could try the beautiful Aladdin’s Magic Carpet by Relax Kids) and finishing off with a long cuddle and lots of reassuring words. Try to let this routine be as calm and gentle as possible.
- If there is a deep resistance, have a chat with your child and find out what the underlying problem is – it maybe that she really has a fear of being alone, or is scared of the dark or feels lonely or feels that she is missing out. Talking about her fears and getting lots of attention, understanding and assurance from you will help immensely.
- Try to stay as patient as you can and keep the atmosphere as positive as possible – children who feel they have upset their parents as well as facing the night alone, find it even more difficult to relax and sleep.
- If you can, make bedtime a magical time, let her choose her favourite story and cuddle her favourite teddy. Sprinkle invisible fairy dust in the air or draw a circle of protection around them. Allow time for children to blow away their worries and fears.
- A drop of lavender on a tissue near the pillow will help calm him down and be ready for a good nights’ sleep. A night light will bring a touch of magic to the room as well as alleviating any fears of being alone in the dark.
- You may like to incorporate a little massage into their routine. This will deepen their feeling of security and feeling loved and cherished. Try stroking their face gently or softly circling the inside of their palm.
- After their cuddle and kiss goodnight, develop a mantra such as goodnight, goodnight, sleep tight hope the bed bugs don’t bite (for younger children). This mantra or repetitive saying will help your child settle.
- After saying goodnight, be gentle but firm that the time for playing is over and it’s time to go and play or have an adventure in dreamland. Make sure your child feels he has had your undivided attention and feels totally loved and safe.
- Dim the lights so she knows it really is time for bed – you may like to play some soft calming music or pop on a relaxation CD. The Relax Kids CDs are being used by thousands of children throughout the UK and parents have found them invaluable for giving children a tranquil bedtime experience.
Now try this…
Here is an exercise to read to your child tonight…
Steps into the sky
Close your eyes, be very still and imagine that you are lying down outside looking up at the clouds. You feel so calm and relaxed as you watch the clouds gently drift past, changing shape and making patterns in the blue sky.
All of a sudden you notice a ladder made of white clouds coming down to where you are lying. Slowly you get up and start to climb the ladder. As soon as you step onto the ladder, you feel as light as a cloud. Climb up to the top of the sky.
It is very quiet in the sky; you can’t even hear the birds singing, as it is so high up. This is a secret hideaway place, where you can build a den made entirely of clouds and creep inside it and be very still and silent.
You love being surrounded by these fluffy clouds. They are so soft to touch; it’s almost as if they are not there. When you are ready, you may lie down and enjoy the feeling of lying on soft clouds. Stay here in you secret den, and dream your magical dreams.