Quick tips to help kids wind down at night
- Quick tip 1End screen time an hour before bed.End screen time an hour before bed.
Work toward a goal of turning off electronics an hour before bedtime. This can help kids’ brains wind down more easily. Start by shutting off electronics 15 minutes before bed. Then try 30 minutes, working your way up to an hour.
- Quick tip 2Listen to a bedtime podcast.Listen to a bedtime podcast.
It’s hard to fall asleep when you’re worried about falling asleep. Instead of turning off the light and focusing on the thoughts racing in your head, look for boring podcasts that are just interesting enough to help kids relax and drift off to sleep.
- Quick tip 3Practice deep breathing.Practice deep breathing.
Use meditation apps for kids to help “quiet the mind.” Doing mindfulness exercises before bed — or even taking a few deep breaths — can help kids wind down at night.
- Quick tip 4Exercise daily.Exercise daily.
Doing yoga, playing sports, or even walking can help kids sleep better at night. If possible, try to slow things down about three hours before bedtime.
- Quick tip 5Avoid caffeine late in the day.Avoid caffeine late in the day.
Caffeine and other stimulants can heighten anxiety and make it hard to go to sleep. Steer clear of soda, coffee drinks, and energy drinks long before bedtime.
Lots of kids have trouble winding down at night from time to time. But bedtime can be a nightly struggle for some families. Why is it so hard for some kids to relax and drift off to sleep?
Trouble winding down can be related to worry and anxiety. It can also be related to fun stuff. Some kids get so wrapped up in what they’re doing that they have trouble switching gears at bedtime. Others don’t want to miss out on something cool that’s happening after they’re supposed to be asleep.
Here are other reasons kids may have trouble winding down:
- Not having the music, stuffed animal, or person they “need” to fall asleep (you may hear this called sleep association)
- Being afraid of the dark, of having nightmares, or of other nighttime-related things
- Getting stuck on thoughts and problems
- Going through big changes at home, like a new baby or the death of a family member
- Having high levels of energy, or hyperactivity
Changes in routine can also throw off kids’ sleep schedules. For example, sleeping later in the morning can make it harder to wind down at night.