Updated: Aug 28, 2019
Like all kids, our son avoids bedtime. Seconds after leaving his room with him all tucked in for the night the door will open and he’ll have a need to use the bathroom, get a drink, his flashlight batteries went out or some other reason that necessitated leaving bed. Many times he will lay in bed with his flashlight and read or play until he drifts off to sleep and others he will get out of bed to build Legos or race cars and it’s a constant back and forth to get him to bed. There are many children like our son who just need a little extra time winding down before sweet dreams take over and it’s not really a big deal.
There are however many children who have had a tough time getting on a sleep schedule, don’t sleep well for a variety of reasons and have their sleep interrupted regularly. As adults we know what periodic bouts of insomnia makes us feel the next day and long term what it can do to our health, but for a child those risks are just as serious and can lead to a lifetime of not sleeping well.
All of us need a bedtime routine that supports us winding down and getting to sleep at a regular time every day. Children especially need this and require a lot more sleep than adults to support the changes occurring in their bodies and minds. Children and teenagers on average need 10-14 hours of sleep per night!
Children need rest as much as they need sunlight and playtime. Their bodies and minds are growing at such a rate that rest is sometimes the best time for their to repair and restore for another day of active learning and movement. Without it they will still grow but it won’t be the same. The emotions and mood will be shifted to more negativity and they will not engage as actively in school. They will also likely not eat as well and have a harder time being physically active. Long term this can lead to health and emotional issues that could also hinder their growth.
No parent is perfect and it’s not like children come with a manual. With our son now almost 8 we still stick to a 7:30 to 8:00 PM bedtime for him as much as possible. Sure there are occasions he can stay up a little later to watch a movie with us but for the most part we stick to the regular bedtime, even when school is out in the summer. This gives him a little time to wind down quietly in his room, read or play and then by 8:30 usually he is out. Amazingly, there will be times on the weekends he still sleeps in late despite this early bedtime. Yes, sometimes focusing on getting him to bed on time crunches our evening time to fit everything in like dinner, homework, play and baths. Yes, sometimes it cuts into things we would rather be doing. It however is probably one of the few great things we are doing for him.
Whatever the structure looks like in your home that is working is the right one for your family and child. I don’t think there is a correct method other than just ensuring as much as possible they get the amount of sleep they need regularly. I think as parents we tend to be harder on ourselves and feel guilty if we’re not doing it like others or like the books say. That is actually the fun part of being a parent is figuring out what is best for your child and using the resources as a guide when we need it.
Helping to Wind Down
Helping your child wind down and relax in preparation for bed can be a beautiful bonding time together. When our son was smaller I loved it as much as story time together. I highly recommend using pure high grade natural products, like doTERRA, on your child. This ensures they will be protected from chemicals while supporting growth activities.
Adding doTERRA Lavender essential oil to their bath water helps create that first relaxing moment for your child. This is a gentle relaxing aroma that helps busy bodies and minds start to wind down. Add 3 – 4 drops to their bath water.
If they have been congested adding a couple drops of Eucalyptus essential oil can also help in the bath water. The warm water and the scent will help open their noses and ease breathing.
Massage is a wonderful way to relax your child in preparation for bed. There are several ways this can be done but some of my son’s favorites are:
Apply 3 drops of doTERRA Balance and Wild Orange along the spine and then rub his back in a sliding palm motion on either side of the spine from base of his back to his neck to apply these oils (This oil also works well in a roller ball bottle that can be applied as needed during the day)
Apply 3 drops of OnGuard to your palms and then give a relaxing foot massage. This not only provides immunity protection but also is very relaxing and quieting
I believe diffusing oils in our bedrooms has been a great help to our family sleeping. We all have our own diffuser and have developed our favorites that we like to relax to. For me this includes doTERRA Serenity, Breathe and Vetiver. For my husband it’s usually Cedarwood, Grapefruit and Frankincense.
Our son has a diffuser in his room as well. When it comes to diffusing in a child’s bedroom, it doesn’t take much at all. For our son 2 drops of Lavender and 1 drop Breathe is perfect for him. I run his diffuser from the time he goes to bed to read and then turn it off after he is asleep.
Interested in more?
It is entirely possible and incredibly supportive to use essential oils on your child. My only advice is that you choose a pure, high quality brand to assure yourself of the safety for your family. This is why my family uses doTERRA. Each individual bottle is tested for quality and purity and it is remarkably less than other boutique brands.
If you have questions or would like further information please reach out. I’m happy to help you find the information you need to make a good choice for your family.
To purchase the oils mentioned in this post at a discount, simply click here:
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