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Three Bedtime Building Blocks For Your Child

The use of building blocks is a great teaching tool in helping bedtime become easier for both you and your child. Just like a step stool helps the little ones reach the sink or a scaffold helps a construction worker reach higher heights, building blocks help your child to learn to sleep on their own. It is a great esteem building tool also as children feel great when they can do something on their own.

The building blocks you will use are sleep cues. The big fancy term used in the medical field is “sleep onset associations”. The great thing about these sleep cues is that when they are used consistently they tell the brain that it’s time to slow down and rest. This is great for both you and your child because once these are set in place your child’s brain will automatically respond to these cues.

Children learn about associations between events and objects and can relate that to falling asleep at the age of six months. If you will recall in my post on when you should start teaching them this skill it’s  at around 4 months. I also mentioned that you don’t expect them to have this skilled mastered but that you can introduce them to it at that age. Young children and babies begin to learn that certain things done in a certain order will lead them  to sleep. The cues I’m about to share with you are scientifically proven  to help children as well as adults begin to wind down and begin to feel sleepy.

Cue 1: Create an atmosphere that’s conducive to sleep by turning off all excess lights. You will want to close the curtains and pull down the shades. Light stimulates the body to stay awake  while darkness signals sleep to the body. This also tells the brain to produce melatonin, a hormone in the body that regulates the body’s rhythms and also helps us to feel sleepy. This is also true for any television, computer or electronic toy light or lighted clocks.

For me and my family this was the time where we would do a quite activity mainly reading. I also like to use this time to stretch. You can also have your child do quite activities like puzzles, or play quietly for a little while before bed. My favorite is the reading though because that’s the start of a great habit for them to get into.

Cue 2: Use sound, it can be music, white noise, rain forest sounds or ocean waves. You will want to put this on from 30 minutes to an hour before it’s time to go to bed. The music should be soothing and relaxing. Also in order for it to work and be effective you need to consistently play the exact same song or cd every time. I was at one of my schools nap time and they were playing a world music cd. I loved it. The teacher told me she used the same one at the same time every day to signal to help the kids with getting into a sleep routine.

Cue 3: Use a calming scent like lavender or gardenia. These two scents have been associated with creating calming effects in the body. The scent of lavender has been proven to slow down the nervous system and promote deep sleep.  You can put some oil in a pot and boil it to create that aroma all through out your house. It will help everyone in the house to calm down. You can use a drop of two in your child’s bathwater.

I hope these three cues will help you in getting your child to bed and to sleep. Remember you are trying to create a routine by using these building blocks. They will help make getting your child to bed easier. Please share this information with your family and friends both through social media and word of mouth. Also please share what you use for your bedtime routine.  Have a great day! :-)

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