What was that? The kids won’t settle down for bedtime? Kids never seem to run out of energy. Even after dinner when you want nothing but to lay on the couch, they’re running around like it’s mid-morning. It’s not surprising when you break down a typical day in the life of the modern family. Life is so busy and our days are too full. We are all so over-tired from packing too much into our days and not leaving enough room to just sit a while. I know how important it is to spend some time winding down and relaxing before bed and our kids need this time too. These all work wonderfully with my 1 year old. He is so calm and relaxed when he goes to bed that he is asleep within 10 mins. You are probably doing most of these things already, it’s just the approach that might be a little different.

Make bath-time count

A soak in the bath can be relaxing to anyone,  but this is the part of the day we often rush our kids through. Rather than see the bath as a way to simply get clean, start to see it as a way to help your child wind down. Select a quality bubble bath with essential oils like lavender and chamomile. I recommend the Baby Magic calming baby bath and lotion. Works wonders for my 1 year old. Depending on the age of your child encourage them to lie back and float in the water. Swirl the water around them in a rhythmic, soothing way. If you’re washing hair, don’t forget how lovely a gentle scalp massage is. Some soothing music might also help them focus and enjoy the peace. My son and I like to sing nursery rhymes. I get all smiles from him and he isn’t bouncing off the walls like he does throughout the day.

Sleepy Storybook

Reading together is a lovely, soft time in a family’s day. Their favorite bedtime story is a great way to settle down and end an exciting day. Let them choose what book they want and let them know that their choices matter. After you read a page have them tell you how they think it should go and ask them questions like: what color is the grass,where is the monkey etc. It makes it relaxing but also let’s them have fun and relax with you. Its calming and can lots of fun. Many young kids love storytime anytime of the day because they get to spend that time with you as a parent. You aren’t up trying to accomplish things around the house or not the phone. You have all your attention on them. Kids crave attention!  You can also make up your very own fairy tale story and let them go along with it. Maybe have them tell you a story would be even better.

Stuffed friends ready for bed

Does your child have cherish a certain stuffed animal? Many children have a favorite animal that they enjoy and insist they carry it everywhere with them or even take it to bed. Does your children have different ways of having their stuffed animals in their room at night? Some children love to have a stuffed animal to hold on to at night for protection. It just k depends on what your child likes,not what you prefer. Have a little fun and play pretend with them, let them give their “baby” a bath and get her/him dressed for bed just like they had to. Let them prepare their “babies” bed and tuck them in for the night.

Talk to each other

Good communication is an important parenting skill. Parenting can be more enjoyable when a positive parent and child relationship is established. Whether you are parenting a toddler or a teenager, good communication is the key to building self-esteem as well a mutual respect. Let your child know you care. Teach them to be thankful for the people they have in their lives. Remind them how much they mean to you as their child! Most importantly don’t forget “I love you”.

Bedtime snack

Fill those little tummies and get your kids ready for bed with these tasty options. Smoothies are a healthy alternative to sugary juice. So if your child is hungry and thirsty, you can kill two birds with one stone. Chips at bedtime? Your kids will think it’s a dream come true! Now a days they have chips that are made of fruit, that’s cool! Another choice to cure those bedtime munchies are delicious homemade granola bars. It’s just the right amount of salty and sweet. Wholesome ingredients such as pecans and peaches come together to make delicious muffins. Make sure to give your kids healthy snacks for bedtime.

Beyond getting your child off to bed on time, nightly rituals can carve out some quiet moments to connect, build family intimacy, and get everyone to relax. Some can be done every night, others as one-shot distractions when your child fights at bedtime. At least one or two will become your family’s new favorite way to end the day. This is always the part of the day parents look forward to, make the best of it to end the night on a good note.

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