I shared a recently on my Instastories about my desperation with Emma and our rather chaotic bedtime routine that involves, sometimes 2 hours of fighting before she will calm down and lie in her bed (or our bed). One night she ran around the house until after 23h00. That was the night that I seriously decided we needed to make some serious changes.
I asked on my Facebook page and my stories for some tips and ideas from other moms on what we could do. The response was amazing and there where some practical, helpful tips. I took the ones that made the most senses to me and we implemented them about 2 weeks ago.
What we have realised is that Emma takes a while to shut down at the end of the day. She takes every single little thing in and so trying to calm her mind at the end of the day takes her a lot longer than most and we need to find ways to make this easier for her so that bed time becomes easier.
We stopped all screen time after 17h00. No TV, no phones, no tablets – nothing. It all goes off. The first two days she was like a crack addict, she cried and cried and cried for my phone. The first night I told her she could play in the morning, she woke up and the first thing she asked me was if she can play on my phone. But she hardly asks now. When we say its time to switch everything off, both her and Jack comply easily.
Every afternoon when the TV goes off we do a different craft. I sit with both of them and we do something creative. Emma loves to paint, she particularly loves to paint with her hands so we let her just paint or draw or cut.
Bed time has been moved to just after bath time. We used to bath and then watch some TV or let them play but now as soon as she has bathed we start reading story.
Essential oils have been added. We all know Lavender is calming and I have used it before in certain products but I think it was a lot more diluted. We know have two products that seem to be helping – an oil and a body wash. We add the oil to the bath water and she baths with the body wash. (I am seriously considering getting an essential oils diffuser).
We are trying, as much as we can, to create an overall calm environment for her in the evening. It seems like it is working. The first few days were rough and I was ready to put this in the “another failed attempt” file but then she started getting calmer and while she still took a while to fall asleep, she was a lot calmer and would lie in bed and talk, read etc rather than run around. The last 4 nights it has taken her 15-25 minutes to fall asleep and she is calm the entire time.
She is still falling asleep in our bed which is not ideal but we will deal with that next and honestly if she takes a few minutes to fall asleep then I really don’t mind it. We just move her back to her bed when we are ready for bed and she stays there all night.
I can see the light and the overall effects of this new routine means we are all a lot calmer.