A lot of children get all worked up when they are sleepy. Right before bedtime, your child might throw tantrums, or he might be hyperactive. Sometimes this can be a result of their trying to fight their sleepiness. Sometimes, he might have excess energy from dinner or dessert. In some cases, your child might be anxious about something he will go through the next day (such as school, a field trip, or perhaps even problems with classmates).
Calming down a child at bedtime involves promoting quiet time, avoiding sweets and caffeine, and sticking to a routine during bedtime.
Avoid sweets and caffeine before bedtime. Dessert is often the highlight of the meal for kids. However, if your child takes in too much sugar after dinnertime, then he is sure to have a sugar rush right through bedtime. It will be difficult to put him to sleep if he’s over-active before bedtime. Instead, if he wants snacks before bedtime, you can give him animal crackers and warm milk. These are low on sugar, and will not make them hyperactive.
Set the environment. Turn off bright lights a few minutes before bedtime. Instead, switch to night lights or mood lamps, so that the room will be dimmer. This can help your child adjust to the dark, so that he will not be scared. Most kids get scared with lights-out because of the shadows and the darkness.
Do some quiet play before bedtime. Kids love to be rowdy and wild when they play. Their minds are over-imaginative, and they have a lot of energy to burn. Don’t keep them from playing. However, don’t let them get wild before bedtime. Instead, have a few minutes of quiet playtime with them. This can include art activities, like drawing and writing. You can even play board games, or read a story. These are all calming activities that can help put your child into the mood to sleep.
Stick to a routine. Children work best with routines. Have a set bedtime every evening and stick to it. If your kid has school in the morning, then have him in bed at 8:30, 9:00 p.m., or any time you deem appropriate. What’s important is that you set a period for lights out, so that your child’s body clock also adopts this routine. If you are consistent with following a routine, your child will try to calm himself down as bedtime approaches.
Spend some quality time with your child each night. If you work at the office all day, he might be in need of your attention, and might do some wild antics just to get you to notice him. Quiet play, a story, or even a video watched together can do wonders in calming down a child before bedtime. As your child grows, he should be able to adopt to bedtime routines more easily. However, it’s best to start early, so that you already establish that a calm state of mind and a calm environment is a must before bedtime.