Most parents need their children to go to sleep just as badly as their child needs to sleep. When everyone is ready for some down time, but your child still can’t settle down, many parents will do anything to get their child to sleep. The good news is getting your child to go to sleep is not as impossible as it seems.
The importance of routine is often mentioned when the subject of bedtime arises, but what many parents don’t realize is their routine might be keeping their child awake longer. Pediatrician Harvey Karp, according to a report on CBN.com, warns parents against using TV as part of a nightly bedtime routine. Bright lights from the screen of the TV, video games or a computer causes your body’s natural sleep hormone to shut off. Instead choose reading, relaxing music or white noise, or a quiet activity to help your child wind down before bed. Karp also encourages a daily routine that starts in the morning, keeps your child active throughout the day and ends with winding down for bed. When your child knows what comes next in the routine, he will be prepared for bedtime.
Check On Your Child
Many parents have spent countless hours trying to get their child to sleep before they leave the room, just to have their child wake up as soon as they try and sneak away. If your child is reluctant to go to sleep on his own, comfort him by using a dim night light, offering a “lovey” or special blanket and patting his back until he relaxes. Leave the room after your child is settled and drowsy. If your child is still upset when you leave, offer to check on him every 10 minutes until he falls asleep. This technique allows you to escape the bedroom before he falls asleep and avoid having to tiptoe out in fear of waking your child.
If you feel you are the only parent whose child won’t sleep, don’t worry — you are not alone! Some children have a particularly hard time relaxing and winding down after a day full of activity. Using breathing techniques can help relax your child’s mind and body enough to get him to slip off into dream land. Younger children can practice deep breathing by blowing bubbles. Have your child blow slowly onto the bubble wand then inhale in again slowly. Older children can practice deep breathing by using a four-count while they breathe.
Visualize Relaxing Images
As a parent, your vision of relaxation is probably your sleeping child. One way to relax your child and help him sleep is to help him visualize calming images. With younger children, create a bedtime book with pictures of comfort objects, sleeping babies and pictures of family and friends. Look at the book together and talk softly about the images. Older children can look at books with pictures of nature scenes or pleasant memories. Ask your child to close his eyes and picture these relaxing scenes in his mind. The more relaxed your child gets, the easier it will be for him to fall asleep.