Tips to help anxious children at bed time
Bedtime with kids can be tricky at the best of times, so when you have an anxious, sensitive or over emotional child, it can become a real challenge.
The most important thing to remember is that your presence provides a feeling of safety for your child.
You allow them to feel safe I themselves and in the world around them.
The thought of having to leave you to be alone and often in a dark room can bring up a lot of fearsfor children.
This is why nurturing, soft touch and consistent calming reassurance will be crucial throughout the whole bedtime process.
Here are some things to try and see what works for your family.
- Establish a good nighttime routinethat works for you and stick to it. The consistency and structure will be comforting to them.
- Get them outsideand barefoot for some exercise and fresh air about 3-4 hours before their bedtime.
- No screen time(TV, Ipad or games) or stimulation at all after dinner. This is a time to wind down so our brains can start to relax and quiet down.
- Uselavender oilin their bath and you can also try some magnesium flakes. These are both calming and relaxing for the mind and body.
- A foot and calf rubwith some cream and a few drops of lavender oil helps to get them out of an alert state and encourages them to relax more.
- Dim the lightsin their room and reduce the noise around them. You can read them a book on a chair or couch but try to leave their bed for sleeping only.
- Wrap them upnice and tight in their blanket while you’re reading to them (creates a feeling of support), give them lots of hugs and cuddles, encourage eye contact with them and take nice long deep breaths yourself.
If they’re acting up or get over emotional, you can try some of the following:
- Don’t tell them that their fears, worries or concerns are silly. Try to acknowledge them and be as understanding as possible.
- Hold your hand over their foreheadand get them to take nice deep belly breaths.
- Keep them wrapped up tightly in their blanket and try to rock them gently until they calm down
- Remind them that they’re always safe.
Every child is different in what they need, so watch and listen carefully to how they act and what they ask for. This is their way of creating a feeling of safety around them so that they can relax and switch off.
So remember, gentle touch and reassuring words are the key to making them feel happy, loved and ready to sleep like a baby.