Bedtime is all about relaxing and unwinding, in our home it is also a key time for connection. My three children go to bed at the same time so we need to we need to be flexible and juggle things a little but I try to get just a few minute of one-on-one time with each of them.
Caspar (12yrs) will read or sit with Otto (2yrs) while I put Otis (8yrs) to bed. Out of my three children Otis needs the most one-on-one time at night. I read to Otis almost every night and I just can't read long enough to satisfying him, he would having me reading all night if he could. If Otto is being really restless with Caspar he may sit in on a story but I try to have this as time with Otis.
I then usually lie down with Otto while he goes to sleep, sometimes this is really fast and sometimes takes longer. Once Otto is asleep, really drowsy or just happy reading a book, I will check in on Caspar. My time with Caspar is generally more of an administrative check-in, does he have enough money for school, a clean sport uniform, did he finish his homework, often lots of chit chat but it's also a time for him to share his problems or issues he's having at school. Sometimes we will 'park' ideas for the next day, sometimes he has ideas that I make note of and look up, or things to order in the morning.
Then I will go back to Otto and keep on checking in on all of them until they are all fast asleep. Most of the time bedtime runs smoothly but occasionally there will be someone who just can't get to sleep. For Caspar (12yr) or Otis (8yrs) this might mean I put on a meditation or other podcast/audio file on. If the other children are asleep I might read more to Otis, or I might give him a calming story massage. It is all about connection, being hands-on, being a voice of calm and reason and and having the time to meet all of their needs.
Here are a few of my favourite bedtime tools:
- Roll-on Essential Oils - these are more for Caspar (12yr), some children like them and some don't. We have a few from Neals Yard (Remedies to Roll) that I like to keep in bedroom cupboard and they are a nice way to connect if Caspar is having a hard time unwinding or getting to sleep. In Australia Biome has a few and the The Goodnight Company has some options too.
- Soothing/Bedtime Rooms Spray - this is one of my favourite bedtime tools for children but also for myself, when all three children are in bed I give their rooms a quick spray. This is a nice thing to do when travelling too as the aroma is not only soothing but familiar. We only use natural room sprays that use pure essential oils, in the past we've also made our own. Again in Australia Biome and the The Goodnight Company have options.
- Chest Rub - we use an aromatic chest rub with Eucalyptus & Mint, especially if the children have a cold or a few sniffles.
- Sleep Balm - this is a nice alternative to chest rub, it only take a minute to apply but to creates a moment for connection. We've made our own and it lasted a long time. There are a few others on the market, look for those with natural ingredients.
- Story Massage - I completed a baby massage course last year and will still use massage with my children but Otis in particular loves story massage. Often I make it up but most of my 'stories' are roughly based on the Once Upon a Touch book.
- Kid Safe Sleep Essential Oils - these can be used in a diffuser or even a few drops in the children's shower before their night time shower. I don't leave the diffuser on when they sleep but I might put it on as they are getting ready for bed.
- Short Stories - we are using Buddha at Bedtime: Tales of Love and Wisdom for You to Read with Your Child to Enchant, Enlighten and Inspire.
- Meditation and Relaxing Podcasts/Audio Files - there are various ones that we use including Sleepy Soundtracks on Kinderling (these are seriously good, I'm listening to them right now!) and on Lunii.
- Journalling - Otis (8yrs) uses The HappySelf Journal.
Let me know if you have other suggestions for bedtime podcasts, music or audio files, I will make a complete list and post them all next week.
I hope everyone in your home is getting a good night's sleep!
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