These tips for getting your kids to bed was brought to you by Random House Children’s. All opinions are my own. #FallAsleepWithElephant
As parents, our first experience with getting the kids to bed includes a lot of rocking, shushing, feeding and evil eyes to anyone who makes a noise in the house. It can feel tough at the time, but those of us who have moved past that stage know, it’s all just early preparation for the real challenge: getting the older kids to bed.
My kids have never been great sleepers. We nursed full-term, so there’s always been lots of waking up, but the real issue is that they simply didn’t want to go to sleep. There’s so much for an active, curious kid to see and do each day, can you really blame them? It took me a little while to realize how important it is for us, as parents, to help them learn how to get their heads and bodies in the right place to calm down, relax and drift off to dreamland.
No small feat, right? You’re not kidding. But we have found a few things that work, and work well.
5 Tips for Getting the Kids to Bed
- No screens. According to Sleep.org, the blue light that cell phones, laptops, tablets, and other electronic gadgets emit suppresses melatonin, the hormone that helps control your sleep-wake cycle, making it harder to fall asleep. It’s hard to keep phones and tablets away from kids 100% of the time, but they’re a no-no in the hour or two before bedtime.
- Use that time to talk. My mom always said that “Little pitchers have big ears” and now I totally understand what she meant. Kids take a lot away from adult conversations, even if you don’t think they’re listening. (ahem, election year…) Take a little time before bed to talk quietly about how they’re feeling, what they’re thinking, and if there’s something on their minds. You may uncover concerns you had no idea were there, giving you the opportunity to put those little minds at ease before bedtime.
- Fill their bellies. This one might seem like a no-brainer, but I can’t tell you how many times my kids have gotten out of bed because they were simply hungry. Sure, I feed them dinner on a regular schedule, but they don’t always grow on a regular schedule. Those growth spurts can wreak havoc on bedtime! I learned this one night when my daughter seemed to be trying to stay up with Mommy. I finally relented and gave her an entire second dinner plate of pork chops and potatoes, and she was back to bed with a smile, sleeping, in minutes. Sometimes they’re really just hungry!
- Let Mother Nature help. Lavender, sweet lavender. I owe many an easy bedtime to a few drops of lavender in the bath, or mixed with coconut oil and rubbed on to tiny feet. Essential oils are everywhere right now, and you can use them in anything from a foot rub to a room spray (if you’re not so keen on applying to the skin.) We find lavender to be the most calming, and the kids now associate the scent with quiet and bedtime.
- Turn a page or two in The Little Elephant Who Wants to Fall Asleep. This is our new secret bedtime weapon, and I am so excited to tell you why. It’s hard to understand unless you actually have the book in your hands, but I’ll do my best to tell you why this book is nothing short of MAGIC for getting the kids to bed.
THE Book for Bedtime
I received the children’s book, The Little Elephant Who Wants to Fall Asleep, a few weeks ago for review. It’s a beautiful book, which I could see right away, but I set it aside on a busy day and didn’t think much about it until one random bedtime, when I grabbed it from our bookshelf.
How More Words Add Up To More Sleep
The first thing you’ll notice about this book is the sheer number of words inside. It looks a little daunting at first, but that’s what makes it so special. The repetitive prose is not meant to be read in its entirety, but rather a little at a time, for a calming effect that builds as you read. Certain words are highlighted so you can stress them as you read, helping you along as your voice lulls your child into dreamland.
A half a page in, I started to see what was happening. It clicked, and I saw exactly what this book was designed to do. SO COOL, and SO SMART!
Note: It’s important to note that this book has some serious sleep-promoting power. It may cause drowsiness or unintended sleep in the reader, too! I sure felt it. There’s an instruction page in the book that explains how and when to read it safely.
A Bit About the Book
From Random House Children’s Books:
Swedish author Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin’s first book for children, The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep (2015), was a runaway success, with international sales exceeding 1.6 million copies and widespread media attention for its reported success in lulling children to sleep by employing positive-reinforcement techniques to promote relaxation.
With his second picture book, The Little Elephant Who Wants to Fall Asleep, Ehrlin has the same objective of helping children fall asleep and improving families’ bedtime routines with all-new child-tested, parent-approved techniques.
Beautifully illustrated by Sydney Hanson, the new book features Ellen the Elephant, who is on a journey through a magical forest that leads to sleep. Along the way, she meets different fantastical characters and has soothing experiences that are meant to help children relax and slip quickly into slumber. The book also includes tips from Ehrlin for using the techniques successfully.
About the Author
Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin is a behavioral scientist with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and teaches communications at a Swedish university. He is also a life coach and leadership trainer. Carl-Johan has combined all of these skills and experiences in developing the techniques in this book.
The Little Elephant Who Wants to Fall Asleep is one I will most definitely pass on to other mamas feeling the sleep struggle, and it makes the perfect, unique baby shower or birthday gift. Curious? Follow the series on Facebook to learn more.
Enter to Win!
It’s the book with the power to put kids to bed peacefully! One lucky winner will win a copy of Carl-Johan’s The Elephant Who Wants to Fall Asleep. Enter using the easy Rafflecopter form below. US only, 18 and over. Ends 11/19.