“Bedtime is fun time!” said no parent ever.
I am sure that there are some parents who have perfect angel children who go to sleep when they are told and without putting up a fight, but that is not my case.
I did not get lucky in the sleep department. Both of my children woke up hourly as newborns and then a few times a night into toddlerhood. It puzzles me that my children do not want to sleep when that is all I ever want more of. If someone told me, “You’re done for the day. Go get comfortable so you can rest for the night,” I would jump on that!
Now that I’ve vented about how bedtime can be a struggle for me (thank you for being a part of the village that I need to keep my sanity during motherhood), I’d like to share with you five things that I have incorporated into our bedtime routine (not all at once), which have helped make bedtime smoother and more enjoyable.
I love stretching. It’s a sustainable and healthy way to keep my body relaxed and flexible. I like choosing five simple stretches that my children can do with me to release some of the day’s tension — a great way to wind down before bed.
2. Melting Into the Floor
I lie on the floor beside my children. There is something about the hardness and flatness of the floor that helps me feel grounded, unlike a mattress. I have been learning, while teaching my children, to melt into the floor. I do this with the lights off to begin the wind-down process. (Lying on a blanket is recommended if the floor is not carpeted. Dimmed lighting is also recommended if your child does not like darkness.)
3. Group Hug or Cuddle Puddle
Why not close out the day with love? We gather together as a family before bedtime to get some group hug action. Sometimes we feel like switching it up and have a cuddle puddle — also known as cuddling — instead. I imagine the release of oxytocin helps sleep patterns.
4. Bedtime Story
This is a classic one. Sometimes my kids want me to read a story from a book, and other times they want me to make one up.
5. Affirmations and Gratitude Statements
Affirmations and gratitude statements can be kept simple but still be very powerful. A couple examples are: “I am a kind person” and “I am grateful for my family and friends.” Practicing this with my children is positively affecting the way they sleep.
Children are constantly changing what they like, want and need. These things I have shared are a part of my children’s bedtime routine. Although I do not use them all at once, they are a part of my arsenal and I practice them depending on the cues my children give me.
What bedtime practices do you use to make bedtime smoother? —Jasmin