Children need to feel secure to fall asleep—but that often doesn’t happen when parents are frustrated and anxious.
While parents all over the world are trying to solve the BIG mystery of how on earth to get their kids to sleep, I have a little secret to share with you on how to get your children to sleep quickly and without a fight.
Do you feel like you’re at the point of desperation? Do you often get annoyed when your little darling comes running out of bed for the umpteenth time asking for a glass of water or needing a trip to the bathroom? Does it take hours before your tiny wonder finally drops off to sleeps? And does this routine leave you exhausted on the couch night after night? I feel you. 100 percent.
Let’s do something about that, shall we?
Reframe your mindset instead of hiding your feelings
You probably already know how hard it can be to hide your feelings from your child. Your child knows you so well and is a master detective in detecting your mood and understanding your energy.
This may happen at bedtime when your child can often feel your exhaustion and frustration. And there is nothing your child wants more than to fix your mood and make you happy. Because that is always what every child wants—happy parents. So, if you can, try to reframe how you’re thinking about the situation to fend off frustration.
Be aware of the way your feelings may cause confusion
If your child acts out at bedtime it could be a sign that he is confused about your energy. Maybe that’s because you are trying to hide your feelings. You might try to pretend to be calm—but your mini master detective can sense that you are not calm at all.
They may feel your frustration, exhaustion or anger. They don’t necessarily feel happiness coming from you. Help eliminate their confusion by trying to keep a calm demeanor.
So... How do you accomplish this?
The secret to reassuring your child is to become aware of your own mood and energy and put yourself in a positive frame of mind. This will give your child the sense of safety and security she needs to fall asleep.
Take one to three minutes for yourself before you begin your child’s bedtime routine. Think about how you are feeling and what expectations you have for the coming bedtime. Become conscious of your mood and feeling.
If you are exhausted or exasperated—calm down and give yourself a break. Be good to yourself. Take some deep breaths and fill yourself with love for yourself and for your child.
This will create a positive energy that will help your child feel safe and ready to relax.
Know that your child really is tired and deep inside they really do want to go to sleep.
Now that you, as a parent, feel more peaceful and centered—you can share that sense of serenity with your child. You can transfer your calm and loving energy to them. A lovely way to do this is by reading meditations to your child. When I started sharing beautiful heart meditations with my daughters, I was surprised to see how much they loved it and how quickly they would fall asleep.
As different as children are, almost every child delights in hearing about how much a parent or caregiver loves and treasures them. Even teenagers—to my surprise!—seem to be calmed by hearing the meditations in the book read aloud. However, the best part of the book is that your child learns to fill his or her own heart with love. Through reading this together, your child will get to know his beautiful superpower of love—and the trick is then to turn it up.
Here are a few tips to create positive bedtime energy...
1. Become aware of your own energy and mood
Pay attention to your body and get to know where your emotions typically emerge in your body.
2. Find your energy switch
If your energy is low and your mood is lousy, take a break and change it to love.
3. Read aloud from texts that bring you and your child closer
When you read aloud from a book, such as my “The Children’s Meditations In my Heart,” or another text that calms and comforts both you and your child—your child will sense your calm, loving energy and feel safe enough to let his or her tired little body relax.