Have you ever struggled to get your kids to bed? Or maybe you can get them in bed, only to have them wake ip constantly? Bed time can be such a battle, especially if you have a child with sensory needs like my son. I’ve teamed up with Sleep Number and some great moms who have been there and done that, to share some life changing sensory sleep tips for kids!
So you might be thinking right now… how is this going to be life changing? I doubt you have anything I haven’t heard already and you might be right! However, what if there is one thing on this list that you have never tried and it just happens to be the one thing that ends bedtime battles? That would be pretty life changing, right?
Yes! Because, one thing I think we can all agree on is that a child that doesn’t sleep isn’t happy. And a mother of a child that doesn’t sleep doesn’t sleep either. Its never a pretty picture. So let’s see if we can change that today!
Life Changing Sensory Sleep Tips for Kids
Routine | One of the most important sleep tips is to set a very set routine. You can choose things from the list below, or use the things you are already doing now, but the important part of setting up kids for a successful bedtime is to set a routine, so their brains start to anticipate what comes next. If you have a child with sensory needs, this is extremely important.
Timers | Staying on the topic of routine, timers are invaluable when it comes to keeping kids (and parents) on track during the bedtime routine. We love the time-timer that counts down the time for the children and gives them a visual of how much time is left. It allows children with processing delays to anticipate what is coming next.
Visual Schedules | Again, I told you how important routine is. Sometimes, setting a routine isn’t going to be all your child needs. Many children are still developing their executive functioning skills (ability to do tasks in order) and need visual cues and reminders to help them. For older children, this can be as simple as a list written out with checkboxes, and for younger children, this can be a series of images.
Bath Time | Baths have been recommended as long as parents have had children. Baths are soothing to the body and also tire out children before bedtime. It allows them one last play time, while also getting their body ready for sleep. Some helpful things to add to the bath water include lavender or chamomile.
Essential Oils | This is a per family choice, but in our family, adding essential oils to our bedtime routine was incredibly life changing. Not only did it help with the actual sleep, but it helped with our child’s ability to follow the routines and calmly get into bed. We love vetiver, ylang ylang, cedarwood, and orange for this. We love to put these on the bottom of the feet or diffuse them right after bath time.
Squishy Time | Wait, what? You might be thinking… However, it is very true! Did you know that proprioceptive input before bedtime is fantastic for calming children? Right after bath is a great time for squeezes. We do something we call “burrito time” with our towels when we dry off. The children lay on their bed with their towels wrapped around them and I roll them in their towels. Then we squeeze them starting at their shoulders and head to their toes pretending to put on the toppings (sour cream, hot sauce, cheese, onions, etc)
Chores | Much like the squishy time, certain chores can be extremely calming. I would suggest putting them towards the beginning of your bedtime routine (like right before bath time). Here are tons of heavy work chores to help calm your child.
Yoga | Similar to the way the chores help, yoga can be a fantastic activity to include in the routine just before bedtime and right after dinner. It would also work right after bath time. You will have to see what works for your family. A helpful hint is to talk through relaxing each muscle right up to the brain.
Rocking | There is no wonder why moms love to rock babies. It works. The movement centers the vestibular system and helps calm our bodies. The rocking chair is a great place for your bedtime stories.
Massage | The gentle touch and the soothing voice of mom or dad is wonderful for calming a restful child, but even more so, the pressure is helpful in providing that deep pressure to your child’s sensory systems.
Weighted Blanket | A weighted blanket is a tool that many in the sensory world are familiar with, however if you are new to sensory support, you may have never heard of such a thing. These are blankets that have beads, beans, rice, or pellets in them to weigh them down. You can make a home-made version or buy them at any sensory store.
Story Time | Adding a good story to your nightly bedtime routine (usually after bath and right before sleep) is a great way to connect with your kids after a long day. It allows their brain to relax and gives them something to focus on other than the fact they they want to fight sleep. It’s also a great way to get your little one to climb into bed and get settled in.
White Noise | Many children are sensitive to noises. For this reason, white noise machines are perfect for helping soothe many children to sleep. This can also be accomplished with a fan or radio.
Night Lights | Many children are soothed and calmed by having a soft glow in their room as they start to fall asleep. The sleep number bed actually comes with a soothing light for under the bed, that you can turn off by remote or timer after your child has fallen asleep.
Incline | Sleeping on an incline can greatly increase sleep quality for children, especially if they suffer from any seasonal allergies or sinus pressure. By lifting the head of the bed just a tad, you change the bodies position, the blood flow, and release the pressure on the respiratory system. You can incline the bed by rolling a towel under the head of the bed or you can have your bed do it for you! That’s right, the SleepIQ beds for kids can incline at the head of the bed to help change your child’s sleep position for a more restful night’s sleep. How cool is that?
Fidgets | Some children need to move while they go to sleep. They need something in their hands they can turn, twist, and manipulate. That tactile sensation sometimes is exactly the missing piece between tossing and turning and going to bed peacefully. You can use a satin blankie, a squeeze ball, or a soft pillow with extra tags on it.
Quality Mattress | One of the most important things needed for a restful nights sleep, especially if you have tried everything else and you still aren’t seeing results is a quality mattress. You want a mattress that is firm, but supportive. The bed should support your child’s weight and not sink when then child lays on it at night.
I recently learned about SleepIQ beds for kids and I have to say I am a huge fan. These beds have so many amazing features, but the most important one to me is that they grow with your child. The SleepIQ Kids bed is the only kids’ bed in the world that provides parents and kids with knowledge and adjustability. It starts with adjusting the bed for comfort and support for each stage of a child’s life – this is called your Sleep Number setting. Smart features adapt to each stage of a child’s life, giving kids their best sleep. I don’t know about you, but I think that is pretty life changing!
The SleepIQ bed has so many more features to aid in a good night’s rest, as well! The SleepIQ Kids bed features eight smart solutions that improve sleep for both parents and children:
- Family Connected, Sleep PerfectedSM: The SleepIQ® technology dashboard lets you see how the whole family is sleeping. Powered by Bam® Labs, SleepIQ tracks your sleep and helps you optimize it.
- Know the comfort they’re getting: The bed adjusts and grows with them; they can adjust the firmness of the bed for comfort and support – their Sleep Number setting.
- Lifts them up when they’re down: Head-tilt feature is for reading in bed or comforting stuffy heads.
- No more kiddos jumping out of bed: Alerts you when your child is out of bed or restless.
- Stars for young dreamers: Make bedtime fun again with rewards for good sleep.
- Night bright, night light: You can turn lights off remotely – when they’re sleeping tight.
- Twinkle, tinkle: Soft under-bed light guides them when they get up during the night.
- Monsters be gone!: Sleepyheads rest easy with a fearless monster
I have never seen a bed before that has all of that magical power for a kid. If sleep is an issue in your house, I highly recommend at least visiting a Sleep Number store to check out the SleepIQ bed.
For More Life Changing Sleep Tips:
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