If your child is prone to restlessness at bedtime, you know what a struggle it can be sometimes and how much of an impact it can have on your own sleep.
There are a variety of techniques and home remedies you can utilise to assist in ensuring your child has a restful night's sleep.
A restless child can affect a good night's sleep for everyone, but there are a few simple things you can do. Image credit: Anissa Thompson/sxc.hu
Because children's bodies are particularly more delicate and sensitive than that of an adult, they cannot take prescription sleeping pills. It also can be a bad idea to give kids strong herbs like valerian root or melatonin as it can give them nightmares and leave them groggier in the mornings.
Here are some ideas for safe but effective remedies to sleep for children.
Using a delicate light in your child's room can assist them with a better night's sleep. Image credit: yournewven/sxc.hu
Light remedies Children, especially babies, need to go into a bit of trance before they go to sleep. You can get Fisher Price-style toys that project patterns onto the ceiling while playing gentle music or nature sounds. You can also get lamps that have transparent lampshades with patterns that will put beautiful patterns on the ceiling or walls when you turn them on.
Many children do not get a full night's sleep due to nightmares, in which case you might want to make sure they have a night light. There are all kinds of different night lights on the market and many of them are quite subtle. If the night light does not work then try leaving the door open a crack.
If your child is really frightened of the dark, then you can consider leaving a light on however this affects their ability to have a restful night's sleep, as light will trigger their body's natural 'awake' function.
Aromatherapy remedies Children respond to aromatherapy but to be safe it's often better to dilute the oils into the air or use them at bath time, rather than applying oils directly to the skin as this could stimulate the child rather than relax them.
A good thing to do is put just a drop or two of an aromatherapy oil into a diffuser or humidifier, or use an essential oil that is dispensed through an atomizer.
Scents that are safe remedies to sleep for kids are orange, vanilla, lavender, Roman chamomile, blue chamomile, eucalyptus (particularly if they have a cold), rose and juniper.
Food remedies Feeding your kid just the right food before bedtime might help them sleep. Try giving them a glass of warm milk or whole wheat bread prior to bedtime as both food items have tryphotan in them, which is a calming and sleep-inducing chemical that does wonders when it comes to calming them down.
An old favourite, the glass of warm milk is a tried and true remedy for settling a child pre-bedtime. Image credit: Chok Ingx/sxc.hu
Food is better than medicine when encouraging a child to sleep, as long as it isn't sugared.
With a restless child, it's most parent's preference to avoid using medications of any kind to solve a child's sleeping problem as they can become dependent on it and it can have unpredictable results on their systems.
Last but not least, singing or reading a story to a child at bedtime is an old standard for encouraging them to settle themselves, and can often put him or her to sleep.