As every parent knows, getting kids to sleep can be a struggle. With their active little minds, it's often difficult to unwind and fall asleep. I love discussing parenting tips and tricks as everyone has a different style! It's always great to hear advice from fellow mums and dads who are going through the same problems. The best advice that I can give is that establishing a solid routine and making use of natural kids bath and body goodies is the best way to take the stress out of bedtime. And the more uninterrupted sleep they have, the more we get!
1. Create a routine that you can stick to
Kids love routine, whether they know it or not. This is so important, particularly at bedtime! The first step in teaching kids to go to sleep is to establish a realistic routine that you can follow every night. For example this may begin with bath time, teeth brushing, reading a book and then going to sleep. Having a routine every night teaches kids when they should start to unwind, as they begin to associate these steps with going to sleep. There is no single routine that every parent should follow, so it's important to find one that works for both you and your kids... then stick to it! A great tip I have is to choose a delicious-flavoured toothpaste to avoid those teethbrushing meltdowns - my top pick is the Jack n' Jill Toothpaste - Strawberry, a yummy alternative to Mint with its Certified Organic Strawberry flavour.
2. Make use of the amazing benefits of magnesium
For toddlers and babies from 3 months, I highly recommend the Amazing Oils Magnesium Bath Flakes before bed for the best chance of a full night's sleep. These gentle wipes contain Magnesium Chloride and can be easily swiped over the soles of their feet and lower legs before bed to help ease restlessness and calm them.
For older children, a foot massage using magnesium cream before bed is a gentle way to connect together and create a new soothing bedtime routine. Our Nourished Life Naturopath says magnesium is a useful supplement for children who tend to push themselves either academically or athletically as it helps to manage a healthy response to stress as well as provide relief from restless legs and growing pains. The Elektra Magnesium Cream is great for growing kids.
3. Create the ideal sleep environment
Ensuring that your kids' bedrooms are the perfect environment for sleeping is crucial. A dark, quiet space is a much more effective sleep environment than a light filled room! Another trick I have picked up is having a toy that signifies sleep time. If they take the same toy to bed each night, it will indicate that it's time to go to sleep. When you want your kids to get ready for bed, it's important to turn off any stimulants like the TV. It's been recommended that two hours before bedtime you should turn off the TV (or computers for older kids), as research has suggested that the light from these screens can have an effect on the production of melatonin, which is the hormone that controls our sleep-wake cycle.
4. Reduce stress before bed
The Badger Night Night Balm is probably the best kept secret in the history of parenting! This is the kids version of the famous Badger Sleep Balm. It seems to magically help relax kids with active imaginations and eager personalities. Made with soothing ingredients like Chamomile, Lavender and Sandalwood, this creamy balm can be applied to pulse points such as temples, neck, belly and wrists at bedtime to release the soothing aroma. It not only helps get them to sleep, it can help to keep them there! Check out the Badger Night Night Balm FAQs here for more information.
If your child is stressed about sickness, such as a cold, try applying some of the Little Innoscents Organic Vapour Winter Blues Balm. It's 100% natural and perfect for helping to relieve symptoms such as congestion, inflammation and stuffiness, made with gentle ingredients like Eucalyptus Oil and Shea Butter which may help to clear a blocked nose. To apply, rub a small amount onto your baby's chest. Alternatively, a few drops of the Little Innoscents Breathe Easy Essential Oil Blend can be used in an oil diffuser to cleanse the air and may assist breathing and minimise allergy symptoms.
If your baby is teething, you'll know just how painful it can be for everyone around. The Weleda Baby Teething Powder is ideal for easing the discomfort and restlessness associated with growing new teeth! Actually it is often referred to in parenting circles as "baby crack"! It utilises the soothing benefits of Chamomile which may help reduce the swelling and redness of the gums. To use, simply mix 1/4 of a teaspoon in an equal amount of water, then rub onto their gums.