As previously mentioned, each month we’ll be bringing you little golden nuggets of parenting wisdom, based on a chosen topic, from our panel of five Wondermums. This month’s topic is, yep – you guessed it – sleep. That all-important, heavily discussed, ever-elusive subject which, has driven many a parent to the brink and back since the dawn of time. Probably.
Lucky for us, and you, we’ve turned to our mama guru, Emma Meyer from @play_at_home_mummy, to share her top tips on how to help chill your little ones out before they hit the hay. So, without further ado, here’s what Emma has to say…
Bedtimes are one of my trickiest times of the day as a parent. Something that always helps make it occur more smoothly is letting the girls have a quiet play before bed. That being said, sometimes a ‘quiet play’ turns into someone launching themselves off the bed in a fit of over-tired energy. So, I’ve devised a few calming play options that help to bring their energy down before going to sleep.
The first is the tried and tested book-before-bed option. I could go on about the benefits of reading to your children on a daily basis. Adding reading to their nighttime routine is the perfect way to tick this off each day. The older girls also love to read to their little sister, and the “That’s Not My…” book series are perfect because they are predictable enough to be memorised.
Playdough is a great tool in helping to calm little bodies as it centres a child’s focus around a tactile task with huge sensory feedback. I’ve also found adding lavender oil helps to relax the mind and body.
How to make lavender playdough:
1 cup flour
1 cup boiling water
½ cup salt
1 tbsp cream of tartar
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl with a wooden spoon. Mix the water with a few drops of food colouring and a few drops of lavender oil. Add the coloured/scented water and the vegetable oil to the dry mixture. Mix until a dough is formed, then knead together until soft and smooth. Add more flour if sticky. Store in the fridge in a sealed container – will keep for 3-6 months if stored correctly.
This is the older girls’ go-to play option before bed. I keep a tub of bedtime rice in their room, along with some jars, scoops, spoons and tongs, and they have the option of doing some calm sensory play before they go to sleep. This rice is special because it is scented with calming essential oils. I use a pre-blended bottle, but you can add your own choice of oils to your rice.
To make the rice, you’ll need:
Dry Rice (approx. 1kg)
Zip lock bag
Essential oils (lavender and bergamot are great for promoting sleep)
Put the rice into the zip lock bag. Pour in a few drops of food colouring, and a small splash of vinegar. Seal the bag and shake the colouring and vinegar around with the rice until it is coated in colour. Add a few drops of the essential oils and shake again to coat. Spread rice on a tray/baking paper for a few hours to dry. Keeps for years in a sealed tub or zip lock bag.