10 Ways to Help a Child That Can’t Get to Sleep

When bedtime rolls around and your little one has trouble falling asleep it can get distressing for both of you. Not only do you have to deal with a sleepless child at night, but in the morning you may have a grumpy kid on your hands. If you are battling sleepiness at bedtime, consider these 10 tricks to help ease your child into dreamland.

  1. Bedtime stories – Many times, a good bedtime story will do the trick. The secret is to choose a story that doesn’t have a lot of action, but that can still hold the child’s interest. When reading the story, use a voice with little modulation and use lower calming tones. A nice, slightly melodic tone may lull the little one to sleep after just a few minutes.
  2. Sing a lullaby – Singing is another age old method of helping kids to fall asleep. A soft lullaby in a minor key is a good choice to soothe a sleepless child. Of course, just about any song can work as long as it is one that doesn’t make your child more wakeful.
  3. Use a rocking chair – For some kids the rocking movement is enough to put them under. For others, it may be the rocking coupled with singing or humming or telling a story. Slow rhythmical rocking can help settle a little one down and get the child drifting off to sleep.
  4. Play soft music – Choose music that is soft and relaxing. Selections used for massage or meditation may work very well, especially if accompanied by rocking. If it’s a baby or toddler that you’re trying to get to sleep, try holding the child to your chest while rocking as the music is playing.
  5. Try a back rub – Some kids get extremely wound up during the day and, just like adults, they can get tense. A gentle back rub in some cases is all that’s needed to get the child relaxed enough to fall asleep. This is also a nice bonding time for parent and child.
  6. Aromatherapy – There are people who say this is one of the best methods for treating insomnia. There are several blends of pillow sprays that can be used to help a child get to sleep. Most will contain lavender oil. There are also oil diffusers available that can be used in the bedroom with scents that calm and relax. Candles and hot oil diffusers are not recommended to be used with kids, as they may pose a safety hazard.
  7. Warm bath before bed – For many kids, a nice warm bath before bed will ease them into a state of relaxation where they will be able to drift off to sleep without much ado. Using lavender scented lotion afterward may help them also.
  8. Chamomile tea – A warm cup of a chamomile tea blend can be soothing and gently relaxing. Some believe that it also aids in calming teething babies. Be aware that it can cause a reaction in kids who have an allergy to ragweed.
  9. A solid routine – After a long day, some kids have trouble winding down. Having a solid bedtime routine in place can help set the state for sleep time success.
  10. Use a bed tent – For older kids, particularly gifted and introverted children, a bed tent may provide the space they need to wind down and relax. Many of these children need a period of time to let their brains settle down before they can actually go to sleep.

While children may enjoy being soothed to sleep, it should be every parent’s goal to create healthy sleep habits that promote self-soothing. While rocking a child to sleep can certainly be a bonding experience, put the child into his own sleep space when he’s drowsy but still awake. Doing so will help your child form the association between bed and sleep, and will help you avoid having your child become dependent on you for getting to sleep.

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