Putting overactive, over-stimulated children to bed can be a production and a half. Sometimes, just the thought of beginning the to-bed ritual is enough to tire out a parent. But for every child who balks at bedtime, there is another for whom bedtime is a positive experience, because that is when the books come out. Nothing can replace the traditional story time ritual of reading to children or having them read to you but particularly for the overactive child, it is wise to mix it up a bit. The following suggestions delight children and will benefit the overly tired parent, as well:
Get Them Excited.
We often need to warm kids up to new ideas, but children are also eager for something new and exciting. Tell your child that you have a new and fun surprise for him this evening to reward him for his bedtime efforts, and see how fast those teeth get brushed.
Set The Stage.
Grab the Mp3 player and dim the lights! Ambiance is key. If your child does not have a night-light, get him one for the introduction of this special bedtime treat. Or get him a flashlight to accompany bedtime.
Play Audio Stories
This is the next best thing to a traditional story time, and in some ways, it’s even better, because an audio book allows parents to rest alongside their child. Parents can also use the audio if they need to take care of other necessary tasks that often occur right at the bedtime hour. Many audio stories include music and sound effects, which offer children an imaginative experience.
Gentle music is an oldie but a goodie. Make a deal with your child that every time you buy him or her a CD or download a song, he or she may pick a second song that can be considered a bedtime song. Use this as an opportunity to help your child sample different genres of music. Keep it positive! You want your child to be influenced by affirming songs at all times but especially before falling to sleep. Keep it peaceful. For instance, this is an opportune moment to introduce classical music or smooth jazz to your child, if you have not already done so. There are a variety of kids’ musical compilations on the market that explore the different forms of music, including exposing them to music from other cultures.
A Nature Sound Track
Nature audios can escort your child on everything from an imaginary safari deep into the jungle, to the peaceful crashing waves of the beach, in their minds. Both adventurous and more timid children will enjoy this opportunity to have an adventure in their mind before to going to bed.
Meditation isn’t just for adults. Guided meditations are becoming more and more popular for children. This may be due to the over-stimulation that is occurring in other areas of children’s lives today. Meditation is effective and powerful! Your child can learn techniques for releasing his thoughts and become empowered to do so. Kids can use these techniques throughout their day (and throughout their lives.) The practice of meditation will have many benefits for your child in the future: Meditation has been used to calm anger, restlessness and a racing or confused mind. It is suggested for kids with ADHD to help them to better focus. Positive affirmations are often used in guided meditation that can offer the power of suggestion to your child and will plant seeds of self-love in their minds.
Creative visualization is a fun way to create a story time for your child without the need of a book or audio track. You and your child can take turns creating a story or a happy place to visit before relaxing into dreams. What a lovely way to encourage positive thinking and to bond with your child.
Mix it up a little. Your child will look forward to bedtime more if it’s not always the same. Whether it be having a book read to him, having an audio story played for him, soothing music in the room, the sounds of nature filling his indoor space, a profound meditative experience, or a creative visualization journey, your child will love bedtime! And whether they express it or not, they’ll appreciate your efforts and creativity. Children will look forward to the surprise at the end of an over-stimulating day that will lull them to a warm safe and happy place. By providing a relaxing, out-of-the-box bedtime experience, you’ll help your child ready himself to re-charge his batteries for his next adventurous day of childhood in our fast-paced but exciting modern world!
Author Phoebe Lee writes about ADHD, children’s sleep issues, and parenting from a Buddhist perspective. She is the author of the new children’s picture book, “Monkey Mind: A Captivating Bedtime Story for Children” and the accompanying children’s audio, “Monkey, Fish, Dragon.” To follow her blog tour, see www.MonkeyMindBook.com or email her publicist at publicity@MonkeyMindBook.com