I think one of the best Mother’s Day gifts is sleep. That gift can keep on giving if we teach our children healthy sleep habits for life. If they sleep well, then chances are, we sleep well, too.
In honor of Sleep Better Month in May, I’m sharing my special bedtime ritual tip, as well as a collection of articles from fellow mommy bloggers in the hopes of inspiring confidence in your current bedtime ritual or helping you find new additions to make your child’s bedtime routine more effective.
Getting children to sleep well is probably one of the most-discussed and controversial topics among parents of young children. I know there isn’t a one-size-fits-all bedtime routine that works for child and family, but the tips below are meant to be sources of inspiration. Please consult a health professional for any specific troubles your child might be having.
How to create a bedtime ritual
Since my daughter’s birth, I have been extremely passionate and dedicated to helping her develop healthy sleep habits. My mom did the same for my brother and I, and I want to pass on the same gift of sleep to my little one.
I considered several things when creating our nightly bedtime ritual:
- Consistency: I started a bedtime ritual from when she was a few days old, and even as she’s about to turn four years old, we still use nearly the same routine. When she was an infant, my daughter’s bedtime ritual was: bath, massage, book, and bed. And now, her ritual continues with the 4 Bs: bath, brush teeth, books, and bed. This consistency has been key to our successful bedtime experience.
- Calm: I work hard to create a calming atmosphere in her room. We clean up her room, pull down the black-out blinds, switch on a soft-lite lamp, turn on calming music, and speak in calming voices. As the spring days are still light when she goes to bed, it’s been especially important to create a calm sanctuary in her room to invite sleep.
- Connection: This is our time to connect together after a busy day. We take time to chat about her day and what we will do the following day. We cuddle and giggle together. This bonding helps my daughter to close her day and get ready for sleep, too.
- Clear: This is the time of day for me to be clear in my communication. My daughter senses immediately if I’m vague or unclear, and she will happily procrastinate going to bed. I have learned that the “firm but gentle” approach is most important at this time of the day. I make it clear with my words and my body language that once bedtime starts, we have a specific focus—getting to sleep, for our health and happiness.
- Flexible: We have a consistent bedtime ritual, but it’s still flexible enough to handle illnesses, visitors, daylight saving time, or travel. Things happen in life, and we always have to remind ourselves to be open to change. I’ve learned that if my daughter loses an hour of sleep, she’ll make it up the following day.
- Fun: And perhaps one of the most important things to remember about the bedtime routine is to keep it light-hearted and fun. My daughter can always sense when I’m in a hurry to get her to sleep, and then she doddles even more. The more relaxed and happy I am, the better the experience is for both of us.
Three ways to add yoga to your bedtime ritual
Some nights, I get the sense that my daughter might need a little extra secret sauce to help her unwind from her busy day. On those days, I add yoga to our bedtime ritual in one of these three ways:
1. Yoga Poses for Kids:
We follow the calming yoga pose sequence in the Kids Yoga Stories bedtime yoga series, either with the yoga book or yoga cards. Then she’s better able to sit and listen to bedtime stories after she has released her pent-up energy.
2. Mindful Breathing:
I sit cross-legged in her book corner, close my eyes, and breathe deeply. My daughter sits on my lap or climbs all over me. But somehow, she still seems to get the benefits of mindful breathing.
As my daughter climbs into bed, we sing “Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu” together. This yogi prayer translates to: “May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute to that happiness and that freedom for all.” It’s our special experience together that I treasure dearly.
My daughter and I practicing yoga before bedtime.
How to get your child to sleep better
I asked my fellow mommy blogger friends for their advice on how to help our children sleep better. Below you find twenty articles (click on the image or article link) with a mix of ideas, including bedtime yoga, sleeping during travel, bedtime stories, and bedtime rituals.
What’s your secret to helping your child sleep well? Please share in the comments below.
Bedtime Yoga Book and Yoga Cards for Kids
Good Night, Animal World was inspired by my daughter, who was two-years-old at the time. I wanted to add a yoga sequence to our bedtime ritual to help her release pent-up energy and stress from her busy day. In this bedtime yoga book, the readers say good night to animals from around the world through yoga poses for kids. At the back of the book, a world map shows where each of the animals live. In this bedtime book, readers meet all six of our Yoga Kids (Sophia, Anamika, Pablo, Baraka, Elizabeth, and Luke), who come from six continents around the world. The Good Night, Animal World Yoga Cards complement the story, offering an independent and quiet activity as children match and sort the calming yoga poses with the matching animal images.
|Good Night, Animal World||Good Night, Animal World
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