So, you’ve followed all the recommendations on how to help your child develop a healthy sleep schedule. However, you’re still experiencing some restless nights. It’s entirely normal. Every parent experiences the bedtime struggle at one time or another.
For those nights, when you can’t seem to soothe your child to sleep, try these helpful tips. They’ll be drifting off into a peaceful slumber in no time.
1) Pick the Best Bedtime Snack
The National Sleep Foundation suggests choosing a light bedtime snack that contains a mix of carbohydrates and protein for children. The reason is that the combination promotes the production of tryptophan, an amino acid that induces drowsiness.
Small snacks such as a glass of milk and crackers can do the trick. Try to schedule snack time for an hour or so before bedtime to give your child time to settle down and digest the food.
2) Try Lavender Oil
Lavender has long been used as a holistic medicine for a wide range of conditions, and studies show that it may also help promote relaxation and sleep. Buy an oil diffuser for your child’s room and add a few drops of lavender, or try a scented room spray.
There are also stuffed animals that come with lavender satchels in them. You can give your child a soothing experience with the calming scent and a cuddle buddy at the same time.
3) Address Any Fears
A common cause of restless nights, tears, and nightmares is fear. A monster in the closet or under the bed, perhaps. To help your child overcome these fears, or soothe them back to sleep after a nightmare, address fears head-on. Open the closet, invite your child to look under the bed with you, and show them that there’s nothing to fear.
4) White Noise Machines
Sometimes, a silent room can seem frightening to kids. They stay up listening to every creak in the house. Alternately, even slight noises can wake a sleeping infant. A white noise machine can help block out those noises and help soothe children to sleep. One study found that having white noise in the bedroom helped 80% of babies fall asleep faster.
5) Allow for Self-Soothing
Learning to self-soothe is an essential part of infant development. While it may be tempting when you have a newborn or small toddler, you hear crying to immediately get up and pick them up to soothe them back to sleep. The process may wake them up even more. If you hear your child wake in the middle of the night, and you know they aren’t sick or hungry, allow them 5-10 minutes to try to soothe themselves back to sleep.
If this doesn’t work, it’s best to soothe them back to sleep gently without picking them up. Try gently rubbing their belly and speaking to them softly for a few minutes.
The Battle Against Bedtime
Different aged children may require different soothing methods at bedtime. An infant’s sleep pattern is much different than a young child’s. What’s important is that you create the most calming, distraction-free environment possible for your child to sleep.
Turn off screens, stop playtime well before bedtime, and create a routine for your child that promotes relaxation and prepares them for a good night’s sleep.