Bedtime can be a challenging process for parents and children alike. Many children have a difficult time calming their bodies down before they go to sleep – their engines are often going too fast around bedtime, and this can cause frustration for everyone involved. Here are some strategies that parents and caregivers can use to make bedtime easier.
Calming Strategies for Bedtime
- Use a visual schedule for the bedtime routine so that the child knows what to expect and can feel more organized.
- Incorporate heavy work activities in the bedtime routine such as wheelbarrow walking; animal walks (e.g. bear walk, crab walk) or have your child help with evening chores like wiping the table after dinner, carrying the dishes, or putting heavier items away in the cupboard.
- Make your child into a “sandwich” or “hot dog” by wrapping their body tightly in a big blanket and applying deep pressure with a big hug.
- Dim the lights and play quiet music before bed to calm children by decreasing the amount of sensory input.
- Slow, rhythmic rocking in a rocking chair or on a parent’s lap can help to slow a child down before bedtime.
- Have your child hold a squishy ball to squeeze during story time. This will provide them with calming tactile input.