Once kids start learning how to sleep alone and in their own beds, life becomes a lot easier for parents. This can be so much trickier than you ever thought, until you have kids. Thankfully, there are some simple things you can do that will help get your little ones sleeping on their own at night, in no time flat.
These bedtime tips have come in so handy for us, and you’ll be able to pick and choose what works for your family/child and what doesn’t.
The secret key though? Quiet time. Make sure you have enough time to wind down before bed. Go for a nice walk around the block, have some quiet reading time, or just sit together on the couch. Also, by limiting the screen time and stimulation from day one, you’ll help create a positive bedtime routine that will encourage your child to learn how to sleep on their own at night. Sweet dreams!
Have a down-time
If you don’t already, make sure you add a quiet, down-time to your nightly routine. Cut out screen-time at least an hour before bed and start the bedtime routine early enough that you won’t feel stressed out and rushed. Ensure you have time for 1-2 books or stories before bed. It’s awesome when children want to to keep reading (which happens with little book lovers). But, because what they read right before bed will become a part of their thoughts and dreams, you don’t want to overstimulate them. Stick to just one (or 2 maximum) sweet and calming books or stories that you tell. Storytelling has amazing benefits for children, so bedtime is also a good time to create simple stories that will create positive images in their heads as they fall asleep.
Make time for cuddling
Big K is almost five years old, but he still needs one of us to lie with him every night, and I am totally cool with that. I know how fleeting time is and although some nights I have a million things to do, I try to cherish these moments that he wants me cuddling with him. Because he knows it’s quiet time, he settles very quickly and I rub his back until he starts to fall asleep. Having mom or dad (or another caregiver) lie down with children as they fall asleep can be especially helpful. Once kids fall into that deep sleep, they are normally in it for the long-run.
Make the bedroom a peaceful place, not a play place
It can be tempting to move the toy clutter into your little one’s bedroom, but a sleeping space needs to be free of distractions and stimulation. A few simple toys tucked away in bins or baskets and out of sight are fine, but if there are fun toys all over, you can’t blame your child for wanting to play instead of sleep. If this seems to be an issue, remove all the toys from the bedroom, keeping just books and a table or few simple items in the bedroom. Put the dolls or cars to sleep in another room, “tucking them in” for the night, and say goodnight to all the other toys. Make sure there are no electronics like TVs, computers, or other highly visually stimulating items in the room.
Get a nightlight
If total darkness seems to be scaring your little one, opt for a nightlight. You can get a fun one like this one that your child can help choose, or even just a simple inexpensive one. This way, if he or she wakes up in the night and becomes afraid due to the darkness, the nightlight will help reassure them and lull them back to sleep.
Splurge for their own special clock
Once K starting learning about time and the clock, all he wanted to do was ask what time it was. I figured that it was about time (hah!) for him to have his own little bedroom clock. We have a traditional one for him to learn how to tell the time, but he loves the digital ones, watching the numbers change and reading out the time every.single.minute. He’s really into rocket ships and space right now, so this rocket ship protection alarm clock is right up his ally. It has a timer for the morning, so he knows not to get out of bed until the beeper goes off. Plus, it has an optional projection with cool space images that “power down” as he goes to sleep. It’s been a big hit and a big help getting him to power down as well.
Create a “monster spray“
If your little one is afraid to be alone because of monsters or other scary nighttime fears, mix up a monster juice. All you need is an inexpensive spray bottle (one from the dollar store will do) and add in whatever you want. In ours, we added lavender essential oil, which also has a calming effect, as well as a few pieces of small twigs and leaves – K decided this is what keeps the monsters away. You can also make up your own super secret concoction without the kids’ help – some times, this is a better idea. Spray this bad boy every night at bedtime to help keep the monsters away. Trust me, it helps!
Mix up a calming lavender spray.
Lavender essential oil is used on a daily basis here. We use it for Baby K, spraying it on her bed before her naps, and Big K also loves the smell of it in his room before bed. I also absolutely love the relaxation qualities of lavender and spray our pillows and room before we hit the sack as well. The natural calming effects of lavender will help lull those little ones to sleep.
Do you have any other tips to add? Leave a comment and let me know.