Reading This Might Make You Sleepy

Unwind with your little one. 

parent toddler laying down.jpg

Trying to get your little one in the mood for sleep? Are they running around like a crazy person right before bedtime? Well, chances are your little is W.I.R.E.D. — also known as overtired — and catching a second wind.

I know that one all too well! And not just witnessing it in my little ones, but myself too! I’m so tired that I’m almost falling asleep sitting up, and then I go get ready for bed and BAM I’m wide awake.

But back to the main subjects, those little sweet peas turned gremlins…

Aside from having the usual sleep practice in place (ya know, the ones I talk about ALL the time — bedroom environment, routines, timing, etc.), it’s also important for us to model how to relax our bodies, so our littles can learn to do the same.

Here’s a little tip… In what I’m about to lay out for you below, remember to give it time and be consistent. Maybe you have a little “mini me” who does everything you do, but maybe you don’t. So, don’t necessarily expect your little one to catch on right away. Give them some time to warm up to the idea — but just keep doing it.

Ok, here’s how to help them wind-down:

*     *     *

The Set Up.

Adding something new to the bedtime routine takes some planning. You need to build in time, so let’s get your head wrapped around on how to fit this in.

First thing is first, make sure you build in at least 10 minutes before bedtime for this new wind-down routine.

Definitely don’t add 10 minutes making bedtime later. This can really backfire when it comes to sleeping.

So, if your little one is in bed by 7pm give some wiggle room and start this new relaxing wind-down routine around 6:40pm — that means the preceding books are at 6:30pm, and the last bottle/snack is at 6:00pm, etc. Or whatever your routine may be.

Make sure the lights are dim in the room, or turned off with the light from another room coming in to set the mood (this will also really help with that melatonin production).

Then, lay down on your little one’s floor (or bed), on your back, palms resting comfortably by your side or on your lap. And don’t worry about what your little one does. She may or may not join you.

As you change your behavior, so will your children.

The goal here is not to get into that power struggle with them. It’s not about controlling your little one’s behavior here but how you handle yourself. This will show your children how to handle themselves, as well.

I know it’s easier said than done, but one of the best pieces of advice I was given is to become the person you want your little one to be. With patience and practice things can change.

*     *     *

The Talk.

Communicate not only what you are doing but why you are doing it. Dialogue is very important.

“I’m laying here to relax, so I can rest my body. I love this time with you. Feel free to join me if you’d like/when you’re ready…”

Also talk about the why… needing energy to play tomorrow, you don’t want to feel cranky tomorrow, etc. This will eventually trickle over and help your little one feel the need to slow down too.

Remember this is not about control. Control is getting something from them. This is about teaching, modeling. It’s about giving your little one a tool to use as they watch how you handle yourself.

*     *     *

Doing It.

You are laying down and most likely your little one is not laying down with you. This next part is about talking out loud what you are doing (i.e., how you are relaxing your body).

Your face is the key to slowing down everything.

Did you know your face has 43 muscles? You definitely don’t have to go through all of them with your little one. But as you relax certain muscles (I’m reiterating this because it’s important) talk out loud about what you are doing. Close your eyes and take a deep breath and slowly exhale.

With every breath, relax your eyes, then your cheeks, your forehead, your lips…

When you relax your face, you actually send a signal to the rest of your body that it’s time to wind down. So, even if your little one is not laying there with you, she hears (and sees) what you are doing to unwind.

Again, take a deep breath. Exhale slowly. Now start relaxing the rest of your body starting with your shoulders, neck, arms, legs, feet, and toes. On your last slow exhale, let all the energy out of your toes and your whole body should feel heavy and relaxed.

Now of course there are lots of other things that can help with these bedtime shenanigans. This is one option I wanted to share with you that has really worked for many families.

*     *     *

One last thing before you fall asleep…

If you want more help with bedtime and are tired of the power struggle with your little one, go here to schedule a FREE 15-minute call with me, and we can chat about it!

*      *      *

Last but not least…

Every other week I share 5 things on how you and your little can get the most out of their first 5 years of life in my newsletter — The Healthy Little Note.

If you have little ones, I’m sure you’ll love it!

You can check out the most recent issue here.

Or, SUBSCRIBE below:

---------------------------------------------

 Susie Menkes, PhD is a Certified Infant + Toddler Sleep Specialist through the Family Sleep Institute (FSI) and is dedicated to helping families get their little ones to be healthy little sleepers. As a mom of two, she knows and understands what you are going through and is here to support, educate, and guide you on all matters related to sleep... and more!

Susie Menkes, PhD is a Certified Infant + Toddler Sleep Specialist through the Family Sleep Institute (FSI) and is dedicated to helping families get their little ones to be healthy little sleepers. As a mom of two, she knows and understands what you are going through and is here to support, educate, and guide you on all matters related to sleep... and more!

 
Susie Menkes