While writing the kids’ sleep tips, I felt that I can’t help sharing a few observations from my real life. I’d love to tell you about the estbalishment of sleep routine for a kid in my family. Hopefully, you’ll find it helpful enought to your in your every-night battles for piece.
My 3-year-old son is a wonderful never-sleepy kid. From the moment of birth, Miron is overexcited and hyperactive in the daytime, and highly sensitive in the night time. The topic of sleep has been a sore spot for me, since he’s never been sleeping longer than 2 hours without a break until he got 3 years. Every time he woke up and claimed for attention: food, drink, touch, a soothing word and caress.
It was a challenge for the whole family to stuck him in bed at nights and wait until he drifts off. Being a hyperactive child, he could go crazy until the midnight. So I had to use some psychological tricks to help him and the whole family have a good full rest.
The sequence of our sleeping routine is easy.
- First I mute the lights and try to start a calming conversation about what I love in him and what he likes to do the most in life.
- Then I offer him to tell a story at his own choice. I list several options: the story about a clumsy kitten, the story about the boy acting like Miron, some short funny poems and the story about the ball. His most belowed story is about the red ball which is escaping from everywhere and rolling around the city. I had to make it up, because my boy don’t like the same old fairy tell him with a certain frequency.
- After that I sing the simple tuneful song with a loving message or the poem about little cats. He doesn’t like the standard lullabies as well. So I have to look for new songs or make them up on my own. More often I have to repeat it several times until he is calmed enough to get a natural sleep. Then we just keep silence and love each other.
- Sometimes it happens that a boy refuses to hear any songs and poems. I often turn on the meditative music like mantras. I should admit that Mantras have shown the great success in our bedtime routine.
- While he was a baby, I also used a special carrier called ‘a sling’ and an Ergobaby ergo carrier. It provides anatomically correct load on the entire spine, soothes the kids and frees the mom’s hands. That was an absolute godsend for me and Miron. He could stay close enough to feel my smell and warmth, and I could cook or simply walk along the promenade.
- My child has a very sensitive sleep, so he sometimes has scaring dreams that wake him up, I try to comfort him by giving him a hug and enfolding him into the soft blanket. I try to avoid rocking my son every time he moans or snores as well as taking him on my knees. I just lay down by him and embrace him quietly and gently, so that he feel safe. Sometimes I put a small pillow with dried lavender at the bedside. The next morning I ask him to tell me about his dreams or draw the pictures.
- I let him stay with me in the same bed as long as he wishes to. Then I simply carry him to his bed carefully right after he’s disconnected. I generally don’t wake him deliberately in the mornings except for the occasions when I have some urgent work to do. The childhood is so short, so I let him sleep a little longer in the mornings. And finally, I do my best to let him feel he is beloved and secure.
P.S. Anyway, this method works only if my son has had enough outdoor activity and play during the day. So I’d recommend you to keep track of the burned energy, not the schedule.