Bedtime with little ones can be challenging at best. If bad dreams and worries are added to the mix, then it’s almost unbearable. The more tired all in the family become, the shorter the tempers and more frustrated all involved become.
Here are some relatively simple things to try. I say ‘relatively’ because not much feels easy when it comes to being tired and frustrated and the crying and whining keeps escalating. Been there!
Keep a routine. Remember, that while young children cannot tell time, their bodies benefit from routine and repetition. Follow the same pattern every night (even on the weekends) and timing of the activities. If dinner is at 6:00 keep it as close to 6:00 as possible every night especially while you are establishing your routine.
Suggestion – Try working backward from bedtime. If bedtime is 7:30, here is a sample nighttime routine:
Snuggles & bed
7:10 – Story time
7:05 – Brush teeth
6:45 – Bath time
Dinner clean up
6:00 – Dinner
Play & fun time
5:30 – Home from school & work
Obviously, no ones life is ever exactly on schedule, this is a guide that leaves room for more time to deal with crying and arguing because ‘Yes, you have to have your hair washed’ and the naked child that is running around refusing pjs.
Adding essential oils to your regular routine. When you need extra help to soothe and settle down try adding in essential oils. You can add a few drops of Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) to the bath and/or to the lotion.
Make it yourself
Add a drop of Lavender to a palm full of body wash
Add a drop of Ylang Ylang to a palm full of unscented lotion and rub down after bath time.
Using “sleepy spray’ or a linen spray. Right before bed, spray your little love’s face (eyes closed) and/or pillows. After a while the smell itself will trigger thoughts and memories of being sleepy and snuggled into bed. Soon, your kids will be reminding you that it is time for their Sleepy Spray. The ingredients themselves will have a physiological effect helping the body relax.
This is great to use in the middle of the night if bad dreams send them running your way. Spray more on your child and on the pillows. Good smell for us, yucky smell for monsters and bad dreams.
Make it yourself
Choose oils that are sedative – i.e. Lavender, Ylang Ylang or Sadalwood
1oz spray bottle
1 oz water (or Lavender hydrosol)
5-6 drops of Lavender
Buying oils or products from the store
Quality products with essential oils can be found commercially. Just be careful and be wary. Just because the packaging says ‘essential oils’ does not always mean that they truly have natural essential oils. Look at the list of ingredients. When there is a long list and it is primarily comprised of chemical names, put it down and look for something else. Another thing to be wary of is when it says ‘fragrance oils’ those are typically synthetically created and while they smell good, they will not have a physiological effect on the body.
**Unless you are working with a trusted medical professional or aromatherapist, it’s best to use essential oils on toddlers and older children, not infants and babies. With infants and babies, you can still spray the linens and into the air. Another good idea is putting the lotion with essential oils (i.e. lavender) on mom or dad and then snuggle with your baby. Everyone involved settles down and relaxes.
Wishing you a calmer bedtime full of snuggles and sleepy children!