When children struggle to fall asleep it makes for incredibly stressful nights for busy parents. At the end of the day, you’re tired and ready to turn in yourself. An energetic child who can’t seem to fall asleep can leave you all exhausted and cranky.
These simple ideas for helping your child fall asleep faster might be just the trick you need to get your routine back on track.
Help Your Child Fall Asleep Faster
Ditch the screen.
Television screens, computers, and smart devices all emit a blue light that signals the brain that it is time to be awake. Along with overly bright overhead lights, they can prevent the brain from releasing the natural chemicals that help your child fall asleep faster.
Ditch the screens and shut off your devices an hour or so before bedtime.
Make this part of your evening routine and replace any screen time with calm play or story time. Doing so helps your child’s brain wind down and settle in for the night so they fall asleep faster and stay asleep.
Give aromatherapy a try.
There are some incredible sensory benefits to aromatherapy. According to HealthyChildren.org, “Aromas hit the nose and go directly to the most primitive parts of the brain, affecting our emotions and nervous system before our higher cortex is even aware of them.”
Familiar smells can even elicit the calming response. You can often see this in fussy infants who are given a blanket or sweater that smells like their mom (or other primary caregiver).
Diffusing a calming essential oil in your child’s room for 10-15 minutes before bed can help them relax and doze off with less of a fight. While you can find child-safe essential oil blends for this, mandarin orange or lavender are both great options for helping your child calm and relax before bed.
Be aware, though, that some essential oils should not be diffused and others only after a child has reached at least 3 months old.
Make sure to check with your pediatrician before introducing an essential oil into your bedtime routine.
Give your child a bedtime snack.
Nearly every parent has heard this dreaded complaint at bedtime, “I’m hungry…”
But there is some science here. Young children have faster metabolisms and sleep for longer periods of time, so your child may actually need that bedtime snack.
Feeding your child a snack with plenty of protein is a great way to make them feel full and help them fall asleep faster.
A great option for this is some turkey and cheese or a handful of crackers and a glass of milk—all of which can help naturally make your child tired.
To avoid bedtime snacking becoming a crutch incorporate it into your bedtime routine. You might have dinner at 5 pm, playtime until 6:30 pm, a bath, a light snack, and then it’s time for teeth brushing and bedtime.
Give your child a warm bath before bedtime.
Warm water is soothing and relaxing. Even adults often indulge in a bath for no other reason than to relax.
An evening bath can help your child fall asleep faster. It also signals to your child that it’s time to start winding down for bed.
Try dimming the lights in the bathroom to keep usually bright lights from waking your child up instead of encouraging them to become sleepy. For young children that need you with them while they take a bath, try reading quietly to them while they soak in the tub.
After the bath, many children enjoy a gentle massage with a lightly scented bedtime lotion. We prefer those that use natural scents rather than synthetic fragrances.