Why can’t my child sleep?! I remember those days….long and frustrating! Fortunately Maggie Richards is here to help, founder of Smiley Minds relaxation resources www.smileymindskids.com and she’s offered to share some really useful tips with our readers, so read on…it could be life changing!
5 Simple Ways To Help Your Kids Sleep
Sleep, sweet sleep. So vital, so healing, so not always straightforward. Try these gentle approaches to making sleep – and your home – a sanctuary for all the family.
1. Cultivate kindness
Starting with you. You are mum and you are every bit as much of a miracle as your child.
Love yourself! Especially when stress levels rise. What little actions can you make to genuinely, from a place of joy and respect, honour yourself more? Taking a bath, perhaps. Five minutes to yourself in the garden. Asking for support (be sure to allow yourself to receive it).
Our children partly learn how to care for themselves by the way we care for them. As they get older they mostly learn self-care by observing how we take care of ourselves. Sacrificing your own needs isn’t kind; putting yourself first is. And kindness is a strength.
Think of the changes you make as an oxygen mask (cue aeroplane journey memories) approach. Lead with love and you’ll truly be doing your best for your child. Being really positive about all the family prioritising sleep will help too. Perhaps have fun thinking up a family sleep motto, such as “We love sleep! We sleep so deep!”
2. Commit to consistency
Sadly, the root of a child’s sleeping problems is often the parents’ inconsistency. Once you’ve established a routine, do your very best to commit to it – with love. The discipline of doing what you say you’re going to do not only empowers you but your family too. When someone knows deep down that you can be trusted, they feel loved.
Predictability is both soothing and security. Security is experienced as an unspoken sense of safety, allowing the child’s nervous system to naturally relax and switch to ‘rest and digest’ mode. This is important not just for healthy sleep but also for promoting resilience in all areas of the child’s life now and in all its precious years to come.
Being faithful to a routine doesn’t mean being rigid, though. Grow the goodwill between you and your child by planting seeds of flexibility into bedtime. Perhaps tell them they can have a snack tonight, and let them choose between three healthy options. http://www.medicalmedium.com/preferred/food
3. Include their ideas
Our thoughts are powerful! How much do you see your child’s bedtime from their perspective? It can help a lot to expand your heart and mind in this way and be curious. If they’re at an age were they’re talking, ask them what do they like most about their lovely little nest? Is there anything they’d like to change that would help them look forward to resting even more? This doesn’t mean saying yes to everything they want. Be honest. It’s good to tell them that it’s important that you get lots of sleep too, and that’s why you’re going to bed now, sleep in your own room, etc. Every healthy boundary set is a blessing.
4. Stop saying ‘sleep’ (before bedtime)
Hands up who remembers defiantly rejecting claims of “You’re sleepy”? [Raises hand!]. Prevent pushbacks by making simple changes to your speech. The late Magda Gerber, Founder of Resources for Infant Educaters, always said, “Rest… Have a lovely rest. Rest your body.” Your children will love your sweet words spoken sweetly!
5. Have total trust
Trust yourself. Trust your child. Trust that they can sleep well, alone. Trust that their body-brain is wired for rest. Trust that you can overcome and be empowered by any challenge when you patiently aim high and put Love and kindness first.
True love, I’ve realised, is my life’s goal. I’ve been seeking it since birth and can reveal that my experience of love, both the receiving and the giving of it, has soared to unimagined heights since meditation found me at 30. This peaceful practice has completely transformed me from the inside out.
Where there was anger, there is patience. Where there was desire, neutrality. Judgement, acceptance. Envy, kindness. So much kindness! Today I am committed to making the world a kinder place and my wish is that humanity becomes kinder, not just to each other, but to all beings.
Meditation was the beginning of the journey that led to the creation of Blissful Buddies, Smiley Minds album of baby animal-themed relaxation stories for kids. Fresh from a walk up Edinburgh’s Blackford Hill, I was meditating on the sofa when a cute tarsier monkey appeared in my mind’s eye. It looked at me with those unforgettable eyes and waved!
Uplifted, I Googled ‘big eyed monkeys’ and learned that tarsiers are nocturnal. From there the ideas and restful rhymes – with help – developed. Fluffy young animals are among the most innocent and peaceful beings on earth, so who else better to help our ‘babies’ feel safe?
I’m humbled to reveal that writing meditations album isn’t new to me. I co-wrote the meditations that launched Calm, iTunes App of the Year 2017 (between you and me they’ll be launching as a standalone album later this year called Inner Power Meditations and include a great track for sleep). I’ve loved co-creating Blissful Buddies and hope they bless every child who enjoys them.
Cyfeillion Cwtshlyd and Blissful Buddies launched on October 8th on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and Google Play.
For more top tips, sign up for the Better Sleep for Kids Summit online 8 to 11 October. It’s free. https://talks.bettersleepforkids.com/sleep
Mam Cymru would like to thanks Maggie for offering to share these useful tips with our readers and for informing us of her lovely new product – download it today! I wish you the very best of luck on your own journey to a good night’s sleep, and remember it doesn’t last forever! Elsi went from refusing to sleep to sleeping everywhere and anywhere!
By Heulwen Davies