Bedtime with Toddlers
Having three kids under the age of four makes bedtime challenging some nights. The hardest time are when everyone desperately needs MOM at the same time. Three routines we have tried: staggering bed time and letting them all begin bedtime in our bed, but nothing works better than these tricks:
Having a routine.
We try to brush teeth, read a book, sing a song and say our prayers. Some nights if there is a bit of a struggle with bedtime, pieces of this puzzle don’t get put together. When Everett was little, I read Healthy Sleep Habits for a Happy Baby and I have probably been pretty committed to that philosophy.
Draw on their back.
In yoga, there is a part at the end called Savasana. A student lays on his back after a practice. Sometimes, if the student is comfortable with it, the teacher will come by and press their hands on the shoulders, temples or forehead. It makes the yogi feel really grounded. I believe the same goes at bedtime routine with the kids. Using your finger, or fingernail, to create shapes, letters, magical creatures on your child’s back is incredibly calming and helps remind them of their body connection.
Essential Oils on their feet.
Using EO (essential oils) for three years I have found my favorite bed time oils that promote long lasting sleep. Our oldest daughter is almost three and she still struggles with staying asleep at night. A combination of Lavender, Roman Chamomile and Frankincense has been a winner in the diffuser. I often rub Cedarwood or Clary Sage on the bottom of her feet too. It’s soothing, creates a sense of balance and helps her stay sleeping.
Creating a Safe Space.
Does your child get scared when the lights go out? Do shadows lead to crying fits? In our house, we have used the CloudB nightlights. I like them because they have a timer and the kids can pick which color stars they want. Since the newborn day, we have upgraded to a flashlight on some occasions, but we mostly use a low dim night light. Another strategy includes making sure the floor is pretty clear of toys and the closet door is closed. Reminding them, “You are safe, in your warm bed, and mom and dad love you more than all the stars!” always helps.
Dream State of Mind.
Another holistic approach to bedtime begins with filling their minds with a positive dream state. A couple of my favorites scenarios are: “Pretend you are walking in the sand. Your toes are stepping on the warm, hard surface. You’re listening to the sound of the waves on the shore. You can feel the sun on your head, and see the birds flying by.” Usually we have the sound machine on that is the ocean too. Or, I will do this one: “You’re floating in the sky in a hot air balloon. The sky is perfectly blue but has the softest white clouds. You’re watching each cloud float by you without reacting to any of them. It’s warm and you are calm.” This always puts them in a trance, which helps calm them down.
A few more ideas I found from this website. If you have any other unique tips, please pass them along. If we add anymore peacocks to this family we will definitely need more ideas!!