After a long tiring day, you might think of a comfortable sleep. But your kids might have some other plans. Their energy is high like mid-morning and jumping around like frogs. Putting them to bed takes lots of cajoling, more coaxing and ends up screaming. It is unfair to expect children to calm down after a yell and quickly get under blankets. Night rituals might help largely to all parents in that condition.
These are the rituals we adopted, trimmed and grew with time as a parent to an energetic child. They work well for us. Then again, every child is different, so create night rituals that can sustain your environment. The objective of having a night ritual is to calm down their minds and relax the body. Hence leading to a peaceful sleep.
The morning rituals are a hit at our home that lead us to create a night time or bedtime routine for our toddler.
Our night rituals usually start after dinner is done and used plates are placed in the kitchen. Countertops cleaned. Water bottles refilled. Book reading or free play. Then prepare for the bed.
A few of the ideas that we shifted before night time was book reading. As I am raising a reader and upon than a curious one. So, talks about butterflies lead us to lifecycle study and trains in the book bring our toddler memories of the last vacation. Books charge him up. The communicative boy of mine can’t stop with a few lines of explanations. Hence to make bedtime with lesser questions, we clear books in the room in the evening. All book reading is done from morning till evening but not in bed. Of course, your child might love reading bedtime stories which are fantastic and you must include that in ritual.
Night rituals that work
All trips to loo and years of a thirsty child can often be spotted when lights are off and blankets are drawn. So, do the loo business and then enter the bed. Brush teeth. Change nightdress.
Make the bed
Just like our morning ritual we seek toddler’s help to make the bed night ready. Bring mosquito net, if any. Put it up. Get all necessities nearby like a bottle of water. Switch off the light.
Turning off the lights never means turning on mobile screens. A tough one to practice but stay off-screen while the child tries to sleep. Say no to iPod, kindle, and iPad too. This ritual is more for parents than kids. Kids learn more by observing us than listening to our words. If in toddlerhood we adopt the no-screen policy at a young age, it would surely build a foundation for their tweenhood and teenage. We can’t scream at then a 16 years old suggesting go off-screen when we taught them that. We sow, we reap.
While our morning starts with verses (Waldorf inspired), we bade goodnight with gratitude. Thanking for our health, our food, our friends and grandparents. Thanks to God. There were days when I was tired and forgot this one. Our tiny child makes sure that we do this one. Or he starts thanking all and we follow his lead.
This is one of my favorite parts of the ritual. We talk. Not that my extrovert child ever needs an invitation to start talking, still we talk about our day. We talk about how the flowers are not blooming like earlier (it’s winter here), he notices how the sky was cloudy that day. Re-tell the stories of books we read all day. Remind me of how awesome our today’s planned play (activities) were. Ask if I can sing him a song or a story other than one from his books, and calls for remember all folk stories of my childhood. At times, I doze off earlier than him but most of the time I keep looking at how his eyes fall drowsy and he fights sleep. And if am awake the next one hour is the earned ME time or time to prepare for the next day.
These daily rituals bond us. This pattern of rituals came in place when we planned to wean him off breastfeeding gently.
Do you have a nightly ritual with your child(ren)? Do you have a night time verse? Drop-in your suggestions.
These are my opinions and do work for us. While I am not sleep-consultant or trainer.