Finding good routines to soothe your child is worthwhile, because they’ll improve your own sleep too. Here are some tips you can try with a restless child.
Massage with a ball
Massaging relaxes children and makes it easier for them to fall asleep. Some children don’t like being massaged by hand but may find other ways more comfortable. Different kinds of balls are particularly good for massaging, because the pressure exerted can easily be adjusted and no particular massaging skills are required. Massaging with a ball should bring general relaxation, including muscle relaxation.
- Keep a ball under the child’s bed or nearby. If you’re using a tennis ball, which is quite hard, a gentle rotating motion is enough. An inflatable beach ball is a good massaging tool because it’s softer. Spiky massage balls and soft balls work well too.
- Get the child to lie face down on a bed. Start massaging from the toes.
- Proceed upwards by rolling the ball slowly. You can stop at calves, back or shoulders and make slow rotating motions to apply more pressure on these sites and to relax muscles.
- Adjust the pressure to suit the child. The child may feel a tickling sensation, but tell them that the purpose is to help muscles relax (tickling can be reserved for another occasion during the day).
- You can play relaxing music in the background.
The toes go to sleep…
Go over the different parts of the child’s body, pressing firmly and steadily with your hands and wish each part good night. “Good night, toes. Time to sleep.” At the same time, you can increase body positivity by saying nice things about the child’s body. “I like these legs because they run so fast. Now it’s time for them to go to sleep.” Use the expressions you like while gently pressing each particular area. At the same time, the child learns about different body parts and body awareness.
Weighted blankets can be useful
Weighted blankets are nowadays sold in many places. The blanket needs to be chosen according to the child’s weight. Weighted blankets relax the body because they are heavy. They may be useful for children with motor restlessness. Before buying a weighted blanket, you can try inserting a rag rug or some other heavy fabric inside the duvet cover.
Heated pillows as sleep buddies
Heated grain pillows are great sleep buddies. They can also be used to apply pressure and bring warmth to the back or legs. In addition, they are a good way to ease growing pains in the legs.
Frequently repeated and familiar words
Many parents remember an evening prayer or a song from their childhood, and it’s a good idea to repeat some familiar words to your own child too. Sentences like “you are my sweetie-pie” or “you make me really happy” are nice things to hear before falling asleep. Find the best words for your family.
This relaxing audio exercise for children can work as a safe evening routine. Check out the relaxation exercises with a Teddy Bear too.
Sensitive children wake up to the smallest of sounds
Some children are naturally poor sleepers, no matter what the parents do. Sensitive children often have trouble sleeping and they can wake up to the smallest of sounds, brightness or nightmares. With such children try to ensure the right sleeping conditions (use blackout curtains, muffle noises as much as possible, create familiar routines). Give the child ear protectors on family trips, and black out the windows with something – you could even use a rubbish bag. Being patient, accepting the situation and taking care of your own sleep is important for you as a parent.
Mindfulness exercises to soothe adults and children
Soothing your mind and body with a mindfulness exercise is good for everyone before going to sleep.