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Winding Down Your Evening: Getting Your Kids to “Unplug”

Does your child constantly complain of being tired? Well, maybe they aren’t “winding down” properly at night. This can greatly disrupt their sleep cycle and ability to have quality sleep.

You can’t expect to say “Bedtime!” and your child to effortlessly fall asleep. Children need time to relax both before naptime and bed. Overstimulation is a problem many of us are facing with our children. This relates to our last post on screen time because technology hinders the time it takes for your child to calm.

It’s important to establish a “winding down routine” which will be different for each specific child. Infants and toddlers are typically more stimulated and restless than your teen so they may require a longer winding down period. This all depends on their age and the temperament they are experiencing that day.

For example, you can recognize signs that tell you when your infant is tired because they may yawn or be fussy. An infant could take less than ten minutes to calm down because you can see they are obviously ready for a nap, while a toddler could take up to a half hour just to calm their brain.

Interesting fact: Around 9 mos. a baby develops the ability to fight sleep! Oh no :/

Different techniques work for different children. Some suggestions include bathing your child prior to sleep. Try using lavender scented oils or salts in their warm bath. Try giving your baby a massage. Coconut and green apple are also soothing scents. Rubbing their back is also helpful. Read quietly in bed – try a story about bedtime – or listen to music quietly or sing to them.

It’s important when winding down to have a routine. TURN OFF ALL TECHNOLOGY!!

Electronic stimulation is the absolute worst for producing a positive sleep environment. Not only does it amp your child’s brain up, but their brain continues to pump long after the electronics are off. Give them at least a half an hour without tech, but an hour is even better.

Playing an intense game on your iPad is going to take longer for your child’s brain to adapt to relax mode. The light emitted from electronic devices actually decreases the ability for your brain to produce melatonin – the chemical that signals you to fall and stay asleep.

This down time is SO important! Use it to bathe and pick out clothes for the next day. It’s one less thing on your and your child’s mind at bedtime. Not to mention, your morning will go smoother.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Reblogged this on Tried, Tested, and True Mommy and commented:
    My daughter never had sleep going to bed, but I know many parents that do have trouble. This is an amazing post!

    April 4, 2012

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Speaking of Marriage

Winifred M. Reilly, M.A., MFT

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