Tried & Tested Sleep Strategies for Kids

Tried and Tested Sleep Strategies for Kids

Kids sleep seems to eb and flow. Sometimes they fall asleep easily and at other times they go through phases where sleep seems to elude them, and you! These are sleep solutions that have helped all my kids over the past several years. With kids ages 3-16 we’ve tried it all. Many of these ideas help me too when I’m having a hard time sleeping. (This post contains affiliate links)

1. Turn off the TV and other screen time 30 min to an hour before bedtime. Read to your child or have them read a book 20-30 min before sleeping. Give their minds time to rest from stimulating screen time.

2. Spend a few minutes with them to talk about the good things that happened that day or about favorite memories. This can help them de-stress and unwind. Try to fill their minds with happy thoughts. Scratching or rubbing their back or feet while talking can help them to relax.

3. Cloud Story: This is my 11 year old daughters favorite thing to have me do when she is having trouble sleeping. First, have your child get comfy in bed and close their eyes. Then, tell them your version of the following: “Imagine it is a warm and sunny day. You are lying on the green grass, looking up at the fluffy white clouds as they float by. It’s a quiet, peaceful day. As you are lying there looking at the funny shapes the clouds make, you see a cloud that looks soft as cotton candy. You think that it would be so fun if that cloud drifted down toward you so you could climb on and it would take you for a ride. While you are thinking that, the cloud starts to come down slowly toward you. Lower and lower. Finally, it’s so close you can touch it. You climb onto the cloud and it is so soft and warm. You think to yourself about where you want your cloud to take you tonight. Do you want it to take you to the beach, camping, Disneyland, Grandma’s house (insert whatever places your child might like to go)? As you think about where you want to go, the cloud starts rising higher and higher into the sky until everything below you is very tiny. You see the tiny trees and animals and people below you. It’s so fun to see everything from up here. Your cloud slowly starts moving toward the fun place you chose to visit. As you fly along, notice the people waving, the river you see, the flowers and the mountains. Your cloud keeps moving on toward the fun place you want to visit. Notice all the things around you and imagine the fun you will have when you get there.”

Then quietly leave the room as your child continues on in her imagination and drifts off to sleep. You can make the story as long as you need to. If she isn’t ready to imagine the rest of it herself and needs you to stay until she falls asleep, keep the story going until then. As she becomes familiar with the routine and the story, you can condense it and she will have an easier time taking over earlier in the story on subsequent nights.

4. Calming, sleepy music. When my kids were small, their favorite CD was Kenny Login’s “Return to Pooh Corner.” See it Here My 14 year old told me that if she hears a song from that CD, she immediately starts to feel tired even now. Lately, my 11 year old daughter especially likes “The Essential Yo-Yo Ma” Buy here. Meditation or ambient type of music can work really well also. A couple years ago, my teen daughter was having severe insomnia so we bought the cd “Drift” by Tania Rose. See it Here

I found a wonderful list of music at and Calming Songs to Sleep To. Some of these apps look really great. Some are geared more toward adults, but older kids would benefit too.

5. White noise. My 11 year old especially likes falling asleep to the mini fan I got her at Walmart. It’s small enough to take up about 1/4 of her nightstand so it’s not taking up all the space. I’d recommend getting one that doesn’t need to clip on something, but has its own base. There are also white noise machines you can buy.

6. Monster Spray. When one of my kids was around 5-6 years old, she was afraid of the dark and had a hard time falling asleep. I got a colorful spray bottle, put water in it and told her that it was Monster Spray and that just a few sprays would keep the monsters away. I let her spray under her bed, in her closet, and anywhere she felt that the monsters might be lurking. A flashlight and/or large stuffed animal can help ease fears as well.

7. Teach your child to count backwards from 100, silently sing their favorite songs, and/or learn deep breathing techniques. If your child is older, the 5 minute meditation technique (image below) is a great one to learn. This strategy is helpful during times of stress and anxiety too for older kids and adults.

Deep relaxation breathing

Title Photo by Raul A.

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