Getting a good night’s sleep when you have children is not a simple task to accomplish. With the holidays in full swing, children are likely even more wired and sleep deprived than usual. Here are some helpful suggestions for helping your child get a good night’s sleep. The wonderful side effect? Sleeping children=sleeping parents.
- 60-90 mins before bed, begin quiet time. Turn off the tv/computer and read your child some books or have some quiet play on the floor.
- Stick to a regular routine. Children respond best to cues that signal it is “bedtime”. Depending on their age, these cues may be physical (such as a feeding, a gentle massage, or bath), auditory (such as keywords, or listening to soft music), or visual (such as dim lights, seeing their bed and pjs, etc).
- Give your child a warm bath with a few drops of an essential oil such as lavender. You can also add some dried herbs (you can put the herbs in a cheesecloth or make a tea and strain the dried herbs before adding to the bath). Dried herbs such as chamomile, catnip, or oat straw are very calming and are generally safe for children.
- No sweets before bed! If your child needs a bedtime snack, consider some raw, unsalted nuts (such as almonds or cashews) or seeds (such as pumpkin or sesame seeds). These foods are high in magnesium which is a mineral that is calming to the nervous system.
- If you are still unsuccessful, consider seeing your ND for more tailored prescription and to rule out any serious causes of sleep disturbances.