Tips for better bedtimes

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My webinar guest this Tuesday (11th of July 2017) at 9.30 pm is none other than the author of The Conscious Bedtime Stories Collection , Andrew Newman.

Andrew and I share a vision ;

  • one in which children enjoy the comfort and security of deep meaningful connection with their parents .
  • One in which , a generation of children are raised feeling that they are safe , loved and that they truly belong.
  • A generation of healthy loving individuals who don’t need to recover from their childhoods , but rather instead launch into adulthood , strong and empowered , ready to spread love , and connection to all those they meet.

Now , you might say I’m a dreamer , but it’s quite evident that in the words of John Lennon , “I’m not the only one” .

Andrew Newman has identified the 20 minutes before sleep as a transition point where we process our day. For children , if unsupported during this processing period , they can come to believe it is safer or perhaps necessary to thwart their true essence in order to be accepted. Of course , it isn’t true that any child should suppress themselves and so , in order to help them stay connected to their true essence , Andrew has created the conscious bedtime stories collection . Andrew says that by connecting in this way during the 20 minutes before sleep, we can rectify any negative experiences from their day.

Andrew’s belief in the power of peaceful bedtimes is perfectly in tune with my own beliefs , and attitudes expressed in my e-book , The In Tune Parent’s Sleep Guide.

The methods and routines outlined in The In Tune Parent’s Sleep Guide will help you to connect deeply in the moment with your child and also build lasting connection . Connection is a key element in enabling your child to enter deep restorative sleep after a busy day.

The conscious bedtime stories can easily and effectively be incorporated into step two of the In Tune Parenting Sleep Induction Method.

Below is an excerpt from The In Tune Parent’s Sleep Guide;

In a family where everyone feels heard and seen no matter what time of day or night it is , you’ll find everyone is more co-operative and understanding . Better days lead to better nights , and of course a good night’s sleep leads to better days , we all want in on this loop!

A simple and consistent routine will help your children to learn healthy sleep habits that will stand you both in good stead for the future.

Guiding Babies and Toddlers into Sleep

Babies and Toddlers

Eye fixation is a powerful technique when readying your baby for sleep.If you hold your baby until they are asleep no props are necessary as your face is naturally at the perfect angle just above their eye level, but if you wish to have your baby fall asleep beside you on the bed or in their cot you will need to invest in a prop which you will affix above them , just above eye level so they will need to look up slightly in order to gaze at it. This will help to fatigue baby’s optic nerve and their eyelids will feel heavy and start to naturally close within minutes.

Your face is naturally at the perfect angle just above their eye level

As baby’s eyes close speak quietly to them to lull them over to sleep. The sound of your voice will help them to feel secure. A mantra is helpful. I like to use ‘safe comfortable and secure’ . Repeated in a monotone quiet voice .

If you are holding your baby the slight disorientation that comes from rocking or swaying your baby back and forth can be the final touch in getting them off to sleep. If you are lying beside your baby gently stroking from top of head down to lips and off – top of head down to lips and off again repeatedly can have a similar effect.

Sleep Induction – age 3+

For older children , perhaps from about 3+ .Those children with a well developed  imagination, I have a method which I call -Sleep Induction.

Similar to sleep meditations but when it’s their parent’s (or other trusted caregivers ) voice , you’ll find they sleep twice as quick.  

The first step , as with babies is to ready your child’s room.The room should be dark , black out blinds are a fantastic investment.Fresh comfortable bedclothes , good airflow through the room , toys tidied away to avoid distractions.

Next consider the bedtime routine ,comfortably full belly, clean teeth , hands and face (you may choose to bath nightly , but for children with eczema this isn’t recommended , and for some children a bath can be exciting and will therefore not be conducive to sleep, you know your child best) , pyjamas on , and any other sleep associations you’d like in place , (saying prayers, goodnight kisses, putting a special teddy to bed etc etc.)

Now its time to climb into bed.For the first four nights your child will be adjusting to the routine and step 1 will be absolutely necessary, after 4 nights it’s likely they will be able to relax each body part without your guidance.

Step 1

I like to use some form of eye fixation for older children as with babies and toddlers. Absolutely your face is still the most pleasant thing for them and if your happy to continue cradling your child so they may gaze up at you as you guide them into sleep , then you won’t need to invest in any further sleep props. However , if you find it’s harder to slip away once your child is sleeping when you’ve been cradling them , or if simply, you feel your child is of an age where you’d like them to fall asleep with minimal guidance , then , a cot mobile or stars projector (as long as it doesn’t play music!)is a great tool for utilising eye fixation for sleep induction.Something that will hold your child’s attention fixed slightly above eye level. This way they need to look up slightly to see it.This will fatigue the optic nerve , just enough to provide a heavy eyelids sensation.Encourage your child to watch the mobile/projector while together you’ll tell each body part to sleep.

It’s good for children to recognise that they are in control of their body and that they can simply command each body part to sleep.You’ll get a kick out of seeing their confidence rise too, as they remember what a powerful little being they are.

Together you’ll tell each body part to sleep

You can guide them here “feet go to sleep , you’ll notice now that your feet are getting soo heavy now sinking into the bed , and just so so relaxed , tell them to sleep, ok now your legs – legs go to sleep , they’re sinking into the bed too now, feeling heavy “ and so on. Soon you’ll notice your child’s eyes getting sleepy , speak quietly and slowly “close your eyes baby it’s time to sleep, shhhhhhh” , you can also signal to them to close eyes by passing your hand from their forehead to mouth and away ,without touching or with a feather light touch. Continue to verbally suggest drifting off to sleep , “sleep now love ,time to sleep , sweet dreams, that’s it ,get really comfy now its time to sleep”. Speak slowly and draw out your words. When their breathing gets deeper and they’ve relaxed their body, you can move on to the next step in the sleep induction. The bedtime story.

Step 2

The bedtime story will guide them towards pleasant dreams

The bedtime story .

Encourage your child to follow your voice , to listen to your words and imagine as though the story is real , or a movie in their head.Favourite characters going on a journey of some kind can work well but be mindful to avoid any kind of excitement in the story.It should be sufficiently interesting that they want to follow along yet not so interesting that they want to ask questions or contribute to the story.

Since discovering Andrew Newman’s Conscious Bedtime Stories , I now recommend reading one of his beautiful conscious bedtime stories at this stage. The conscious bedtime stories set the perfect tone for bedtime and encourage deep meaningful connection.

To learn more about the conscious bedtime stories collection follow this link 

And you can buy the full ebook , The In Tune Parent’s Sleep Guide , here.

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