Have you always wondered if there are really useful relaxation techniques to calm children before bed? Putting children to bed can be a nightmare for many parents. Some kids resist bedtime so much that every night turns into a power struggle.
As a result, both parents and children have poor quality sleep, which can affect the health of the family. But bedtime doesn’t have to be stressful, so here are some relaxation techniques that will help calm kids down before it’s time for bed.
Here are 5 relaxation techniques to calm children before bed
“Any situation we don’t control can trigger anxiety and stress…” – Beth Block
1. Take advantage of bath time to start the relaxation routine
For kids, warm baths may just be a way to get clean, but you can make this daily routine count more. Use bath time as a bedtime tool. A bath in the bathtub can be very relaxing for any age, including children.
Too often, parents tend to rush their children out of the bathtub. Bath time can be the beginning of a good ritual and relaxation technique before bed.
It is beneficial to let your children enjoy a bubble bath with essential oils like lavender or chamomile to help their body relax. Lavender works to calm the nervous system, according to a study in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Chamomile, on the other hand, also has calming properties. It can reduce tension in the body so your child can calm down and sleep better at night.
Just make sure your child doesn’t turn that bedtime bath into a fun evening because it could overload their energy. Make it clear to your child that this bath is a time for calm, and carefully monitor this routine.
2. Read a bedtime storybook in bed
Having a ritual where you read a storybook aloud to your child at bedtime creates a lasting memory of family time in your child’s mind. It can boost a child’s positive behavior and attentiveness development, according to Dr. Alan Mendelsohn in the journal Pediatrics.
However, as a relaxation technique before bedtime, be sure to choose stories that have calming and happy themes to help your child have a more pleasant sleep. If you have older children, let them read a paragraph from the book.
Keep your voice low and full, and emphasize inflections in the story to make it sound interesting to the child. A story that triggers positive thinking can definitely make bedtime relaxing.
3. Listen to relaxing music
Try playing the same music track at a specific time night after night before your child goes to bed. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a lullaby, as you can play any soft music to activate the sleep routine. Preferably, play the songs after you have finished your bedtime reading.
This is actually a clever trick, especially for older babies and toddlers, because they’ll learn to associate music with bedtime. It will also help create a bedtime habit that your child can practice even as an adult. It will condition your body for bedtime at a specific time each night, so you probably won’t have trouble sleeping.
4. Try breathing or meditation
Teach your child breathing or meditation techniques to do before going to sleep. This is not just a form of physical exercise. Meditation may also improve the condition of a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to a study in the World Journal of Psychiatry .
Let your child lie down flat on the bed. Ask him to close his eyes and be aware of the sound of his breathing. Let him count to 20 while you breathe. Expect some hesitation or laughter from your child at first, but be patient and stick with this exercise. In time, both of you will master this ritual.
After you count to 20, let your child sit still, still, with their eyes closed. Ask him to slowly raise his hand and be aware of the soft sound of his movements. Let him repeat this process at least five to ten times. Then finish the exercise by letting him count his breath to 20 again, but backwards.
Sometimes this form of relaxation techniques will put children to sleep before they can even finish counting.
5. Let them keep a diary before bed
For older children, perhaps encouraging them to journal before bed could help calm their body and mind at bedtime. They can write anything in their diary; any thoughts that are running through their minds, or feelings that are causing them worry or anxiety. You could even draw in your journal before bed and be as creative as possible.
Writing down thoughts and feelings can clear your mind. A child who can’t fall asleep easily might benefit from a writing exercise because a clearer mind can signal the body to relax. Psychologists told The Guardian that writing exercises trigger positive thoughts and make the brain happy.
If your child still resists lying down despite these relaxation techniques, consider consulting a pediatrician. Your child may have a sleep disorder, and early intervention will ease your concerns and correct the problems.