Can You Relate To This Bedtime Routine?
It’s 8 PM on a school night and the proverbial sounds of bedtime resonate from the walls of the house. “Ok, it’s time for bed, go potty, brush your teeth, and pick out a book to read”. These are the words that many parents repeat on a nightly basis, but kids just recognize them as muffled sounds or cues to resist bedtime.
It was a constant battle between my son, EJ and I. It really wasn’t a win or lose fight on my end, I just wanted him to get ready for bed. He thought it was a battle of the fittest, whoever caved lost. I used my reverse psychology super powers on him and sometimes that worked, but often his stubbornness and manipulation was just too much to handle. I really wanted him to somehow change his thinking about bedtime. I wanted him to see bedtime as the perfect time to unwind from his busy day and recharge for tomorrow.
Desperate and tired at 11 PM
One night last October, I was having a tough time settling him down. It was 8:30PM and he was full of energy, wiggling around and even though we read multiple bedtime books, talked about school, sang lullabies, I couldn’t get him to relax. At 11 PM, desperate and tired, I recalled a body relaxation technique my mother used to relax and reduce her anxiety. Could it work on a 6 year old? I decided to give it a try. We started with a couple of deep breaths and a big sigh when we exhaled, then went straight to the feet and worked our way up to the shoulders, neck and head. Taking time to relax each body part. In between the process, I repeated, “honor this moment-you worked hard all day, its time to rest and unwind, take another big breath in and let it ALL out”.
I also peppered in all of his wonderful qualities and attributes of the day. Who doesn’t want to hear praise before bed? By the time we got to the eyes, nose and mouth, he was fast asleep. This technique took a total of 10 minutes!! As you can imagine, I was relieved that my little wiggle worm had done his job, but now it was my turn to go to sleep. By the time I got to into bed, my husband was sound asleep and my two dogs were curled up snoring, I used the technique on myself and I too finally went to slumber town.
That “Relax Thing”
The next night, we did the same rituals, but this time we started the body scan at 8:30pm. Let’s just say, my little guy fell asleep by the time we got to the arms and elbows. By the third night, he asked me to do the “relax thingy”. That was when all my bells and whistles blew! I knew I had to share this with the rest of the desperate parents, caregivers and grandparents out there and that’s when the idea for my first book, Relax a bye Baby: A bedtime guide to get your little one relax and sleep tight took hold.
My intentions for this book are to honor bedtime and help children through simple exercises and repetition be able to calm themselves down for any time when they feel anxious or in distress. Imagine the impact this will have when they blossom into young adults and have some coping skills like this in their toolbox. My mission is to honor bedtime one child at a time.
You can pre-order the book on Amazon.com and have it by September 1, 2014.