I’m not sure why I’m so obsessed with sleep. I’m sure when they are ready they will start sleeping through the night easily. Until they do, I think I will be obsessed with it.
When the girls were babies, I used to love getting the girls ready for bed. A little while after dinner, we would come up, give them a bath, gently wash their hair and then wrap them up in a big towel. Once in the bedroom, I would rub oil or cream and massage it into their chubby little bodies, then put their nappies and nighttime onesies on and then read to them. I would put some music on and then lie with them until they fell asleep. I too would ‘nap’ or fall asleep with them for a bit and then creep out the room trying not to wake them up. Even then some days were better than others but there were more good days.
As they have got older, however, they resist going to bed. They are tired, they need sleep and yet this is the time they need to tell me the most important thing ever, even though they have had the whole day to do it. Bedtimes are starting to get more stressful. They don’t want to go sleep and I’m worried about them not getting enough sleep. We all start getting a bit louder instead of quieter as I start panicking that it’s getting late.
While its the summer holidays, I thought I would experiment with different techniques to get them to sleep. I have been giving them warm milk and toast or biscuit before bed which I’m told is meant to help and milk is good anyway so I don’t mind. The next thing I’ve added to this is to do 10 minutes of yoga and then some meditation with them.
I’ve also subscribed to the calm app as I used to use it to do some meditation in the mornings myself. On the calm app, there is a section for kids and there is a subsection for sleep. In the sleeping area, there are stories and lullabies and music. As its the holidays, I thought I would give this a go. Initially, I tried the kids’ meditation but didn’t really get very far as the girls kept talking over it.
I then found a story with a lullaby – which was written by Tamara Levitt, the creator of calm. While it was playing, I stayed in their room feeling guilty on so many levels. Guilty that I wasn’t the one reading it to them and guilty of using a gadget in their room.
Generally speaking when it comes to gadget and technology I try to follow all the guidelines about limiting the amount of time they are exposed to it. The tablet they have has a timer as to how long they can play on it and also cuts off at 8 pm (during the holidays). A CD player is the most they have in their room.
At the moment, I know that when I read to them, I get annoyed by their fidgeting and messing around and my story voice gets quite stern and loud. I don’t feel like I have a relaxing calm voice when I need it. Plus on top of that, we have to keep the light to read the book so that is also not relaxing.
The calm app is on my tablet and phone. I could leave the tablet so that they can see if I wanted it to as it just has a picture bumping around the screen which I think is meant to be quite calming. At the moment though I choose to stay in the room with them while it plays. As we listened, I hugged them both and tucked them into bed.
The calming voice while Tamara reads the story is so good and soothing that I even felt a lot better listening to it. She even sang a lullaby in between the story. I did have to restart it but it’s ok, as she still has the same soothing voice when it starts over!
Quickly fall asleep
My youngest fell asleep quite quickly although she generally does. My older daughter took a little longer to fall asleep and as I was not stuck with a book, I decided to lie with her for a little bit and give her a cuddle while we listened to the story. I left the room before she fell asleep but unlike normal, she didn’t mind me going.
I have read so many articles about how reading to your child is good for them, their vocabulary, their intelligence and just bonding with them in general. However, I think at bedtime, I might do this more often and find another time to read to them.
Over the holidays our routine has gone out the window, due to jetlag so in my head, I believe them to be tired all the time. I guess the real test will come when they go back to school. Maybe for the first time in my life, I might like this piece of technology although I will try not to use it every day. We’ve only just started this new routine so we’ll have to see how it goes.
You can download the app here: https://app.www.calm.com/homepage