Question about helping an older child fall asleep - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 08-24-2012, 01:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi there, 

My 8 year old daughter has a hard time falling asleep. She is genuinely trying (most of the time). What are the most successful tips and tricks you have used to help your kids fall asleep? I would love to come up with a list of tools and tricks to teach her. Her father and I both struggle with insomnia from time to time, so it is likely there is a genetic component here.

Thanks! I appreciate the help. :)


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#2 of 11 Old 08-24-2012, 01:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Oh, I forgot to share the list of tricks that I have come up with so far.


1) affirmations  -- I am going to print the following sentences and hang it where she can read it. "I can fall asleep. Sleep is good for my body. Everyone sleeps. I am relaxed and peaceful."


2) Sleep Spray -- I am going to make a sleep spray with water and calming essential oils for her to spray around the room.


3) Breathing exercises -- simply counting the breaths, yoga breathing, or just observing the breath


4) Tense and relax -- starting at your feet and going up, tense each muscle for a few seconds and then relax


5) Trick your brain -- try to stay awake while lying down with your eyes closed


6) Peaceful music


7) Meditation and guided visualization

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#3 of 11 Old 08-24-2012, 02:23 PM
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Reading usually does it for me, especially when it's a book I really want to read. Maybe she could try that as part of her relaxation routine before turning the light off? Or letting her keep the light on and reading til she falls asleep, then you can turn it off when you go to bed?

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#4 of 11 Old 08-24-2012, 02:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah, I wish we could use that idea. She loves to read and would happily stay up until midnight or later reading! :(

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#5 of 11 Old 08-24-2012, 04:32 PM
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a pre-bed snack may help.  nothing too sugary, something with protein.  oh and maybe a cup of chamomile tea?

some relaxing music may help, play the same thing each time to develop a sleep association.

I have read that you should not look at a screen (TV, computer, etc) during the two hours prior to going to bed.  I can't remember the reason why.  Something kinda like not exercising before going to bed.

If she can write very well and something that is keeping her awake is anxiety provoking thoughts, keep a notebook and pen by her bed so she can write things down.  I am not sure if kids have this problem, but I can't tell you how many times I lay down and remember something I need to do in the AM and then stress I won't remember.  Write it down and let it go!

something that is supposed to help is develop a routine/ritual, could be anything.  another one of those sleep association things.

here's a big one that I find hard to follow, always keep the same bedtime, no matter what day of the week.  your body will get into a rhythm and learn to expect to fall asleep at a certain time.

haven't tried all these ideas myself, just things I've gleaned from having trouble falling asleep myself!  I hope something helps.

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#6 of 11 Old 08-24-2012, 09:57 PM
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Valerian. We give it to ds (6yo) at his request (and 1/3 the dose). Works like a champ.

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#7 of 11 Old 08-25-2012, 08:36 AM
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I wonder if EFT/meridian tapping along with a affirmation would help with this situation...

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#8 of 11 Old 08-25-2012, 01:15 PM
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massage. i gently massage her face. me being there IS important for her. she also must read for at least half an hour before bed. so i have to make sure she has the time. 


meditation and affirmations here have not helped with sleep. reading really has. dd also goes overboard with reading so i make sure she is not reading her favourite books at bedtime. 

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#9 of 11 Old 08-26-2012, 07:42 AM
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My kid also has periodic insomnia. I do stay in the room while he falls asleep, though I'm generally working and not petting or cuddling him. I do not think that's the most important part, though.


The most important part is to do the same bedtime routine, as close as possible to the same time, every night. Bath, reading to him while he's in the tub (you do not have to do that! If you start earlier, you can read in p.js)  toothbrushing, lullaby, nighttime prayer, saying the same thing with the goodnight kiss each night. I also let him have the lights however he wants them. 


It doesn't really matter what relaxing things you do, just make bedtime feel like bedtime so that there is order and beauty. (And flossing.) 

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#10 of 11 Old 08-26-2012, 03:36 PM
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My dd falls asleep easily but I have always had trouble. As a child I learned to tell myself stories to get to sleep and sometimes still do this as an adult. Not focusing on wanting to fall asleep really helps a lot too. My doctor had me not do anything active like reading or drawing on my bed so my body would associate bed with relaxing only. Light of any sort is very distracting so I make sure the blinds and curtains ate closed and anything charging that has even a small light is covered.
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#11 of 11 Old 08-27-2012, 07:19 AM
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Maybe yoga would help or there are some guided meditations online.
I never would think of it, but my dd says she has to sing the alphabet when she is too excited about something to sleep.

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