We are so focused on creating a calm wind down for our little one's at bedtime...but what if you have a child who doesn't play ball?
A child who doesn't understand the word calm. Who essentially is physically active right up until the moment they fall asleep.
Bath time is less of a spa and more like a splash park. Bedtime books are a full re-enactment rather than a gentle story.
Laying down to calmly drift off just isn't something they'd consider when they could be rolling, crawling, standing, spinning...
First and foremost, this was my son.
It was only really once he dropped his final nap that the final moments of bedtime, which for us is his stories, became a calmer, falling asleep affair. And to be quite frank, he still half the time asks 'why' to every single sentence I read in the book right up until he falls asleep.
For us, his energetic behaviour at bedtime wasn't an issue for us, as he did actually then go to sleep. So for those of you whose child is extremely active right up until sleep, but then does go to sleep, please don't worry!
If they are okay being like this and it doesn't affect bedtime, then seriously it's okay!
But what to consider if this is leading to lengthy bedtime battles?
If they are not tired enough...well they won't sleep.
If they are over tired, they can get a second wind and exhibit some fairly wired behaviour. Some upset can come with this but not always.
Be curious about timings.
If the timings haven't changed for a while, but suddenly this behaviour is occurring, it's much less likely to be over tiredness. Sleep needs decrease over time, so the chance of them suddenly being extremely overtired is slim.
Is a new physical skill emerging?
Is language popping?
This can lead to a strong want to practice at bedtime, even when tired. And their brain may be on overdrive, making it substantially harder to switch off.
If this is the case, it will pass. Just make sure they have heaps of practice during the day.
Have they had enough exercise, daylight and fresh air?
These three super simple factors are some of the most important when it comes to sleep.
Do some big physical play prior the bedtime routine to get those last wiggles and energy out. This type of play is normally also connection heavy, which is a double whammy for bedtime.
Everyone has different sensory preferences and needs. And these can be stronger or milder. Be curious about whether your child seeks or avoids. Exploring these needs and meeting them more during the day can help them at bedtime.
Potentially your bedtime routine isn't serving them. There is no right or wrong way to do a bedtime routine; only the right one for you and your little one. Click here to find my Instagram page with various posts on bedtime routines.
Don't feed the fun
You can't make a little one calm down and sit still. But you can avoid feeding the fun. This is particularly in the final wind down stages, as previously mentioned, big physical play earlier on is great. Focus heavily on your own calm, almost as if this was your own bedtime routine. Slow your breathing, speech and movement down.
It may not stop them spinning, but it won't feed it either.
Avoid blue light and screens in the two hours (or more if your little is particularly sensitive to the stimulation of TV) before bed.
Try dimming the lights in the lead up to start calming the environment down, even though play doesn't need to stop yet.
And finally, know you aren't alone. Many little ones need to get that energy out right up until the final moment of sleep. It can feel exhausting, or like you're doing something wrong, but for many it's simply their temperament.
As always, if you are worried about anything and are struggling then hop over to my contact me page and drop me a message and we can discuss working together to make any changes you need. Or have a look at my packages to see what I offer.