Bedtime has not always been the easiest for us when it comes to our kids, but over the years we’ve figured out what works – and what doesn’t – and now I’m ready to share my top sleep tips for kids!
My oldest child is 11 (he turned 11 a few weeks ago!) and from the moment he was born, he was the world’s worst sleeper. In fact, he didn’t sleep through the night until he was 15 months old. I remember his pediatrician asking me if I had any questions and I broke down with “why won’t he SLEEP???” At that time, I didn’t realize sleep training was a thing. (And this post isn’t to tell anyone they should or shouldn’t sleep train. I just didn’t really know about it back then.)
Fast forward 4.5 years after he was born and we were looking for tips on how to get our daughter to not sleep all night! She needed to wake to eat, but she decided she was going to be the world’s greatest sleeper. Until she was 3 and it was more fun to wake throughout the night.
And now at ages 11 and 6, they’re pretty decent sleepers. I’ve figured out what works, what doesn’t work and what I needed to invest in!
Tools to help your kids sleep better at night:
Black out curtains will be your very best friend. I have them in both of my kids’ rooms. If my son sees the slightest hint of sun, he will wake up (this works in hotels too. I accidentally tested the theory this summer.) I get the short panels, so they don’t hit the heat vents. They cover the windows and keep the sun out. (Also, these on Amazon are not expensive and will do the job!)
Weighted blankets for kids. My son has a weighted blanket (appropriate for his weight!) and it helps SO much! HIs blanket is 7 pounds (he’s in the middle of the weight range of 60-80 pounds.) And he’s had this blanket for several years. My husband sleeps with a weighted blanket, and I don’t know why it works, but it does. There’s less tossing and turning, and I can actually see my son (and husband) fall asleep almost immediately when that blanket is on them.
Melatonin for kids. When my son was between 5 and 6, I remember he would be in bed and I would hear him call my name around 11pm. He often told me he couldn’t get his brain to stop all the thinking. I started him on a very low dose, kid-friendly melatonin. Five years later, I make sure we have it on hand. I can tell by his energy levels in the evening if we’re going to need it and this summer I tried the Viva Naturals melatonin for kids and it’s SO SO good. The Kids Sleep Melatonin Gummies work with the body’s natural cycle to gently promote sleep.
When we traveled to New York this summer, we stayed in five different hotels/homes (and a camper!) over 8 days. I knew that the kids would both have difficulty falling to sleep each night, so (especially on hotel nights) we tried the Viva Naturals Kids Sleep Melatonin Gummies and the kids both fell asleep without a fight – and woke up without feeling groggy. The gummies contain 1 mg of melatonin. My cousin and I actually compared our kids’ melatonin and I was so impressed with the ingredients and effectiveness of Viva Naturals.
Save 15% on your order from Viva Naturals with code AFFILIATE15.
I tried the melatonin myself and not only does it work, but the texture is great and not sticky. It’s great for little teeth! My kids really like gummy vitamins and Viva Naturals has a lot of great options for them. The children’s melatonin is also non-GMO, dairy free and vegan. Great options for those who may have different sensitivities.
Consistent bedtimes. My son definitely wants to see how late he can stay up because he knows his friends stay up late. However, he does. not. sleep. late. My daughter will sleep later (her natural wake up time is around 7.) But my son? Absolutely not. He wakes up by 6:30 and if he sleeps past 7, it’s a miracle. So I make sure bedtimes are consistent throughout the week and on their breaks. On weekends, I may give them an extra 30 minutes to stay up, but this isn’t something I’m willing to let slide.
Read a little (or a lot.) Do you fall asleep while reading at night? I’m obsessed with my Kindle and I don’t know what my streak for reading is, but it’s hundreds of days. My oldest gets 15-30 minutes to read before it’s lights out for him. My daughter has a flashlight in her bed if she gets the urge to read (but we read to her for a little bit before she goes to sleep.) Reading in bed is basically forced relaxation for my kids (and myself) so I build this into their bedtime.
Save 15% on your order from Viva Naturals with code AFFILIATE15. (This photo is from one night of camping this summer. I really don’t go many places without this melatonin anymore.)