We know the basics: early bedtimes, soothing music, getting junior to settle himself to sleep. But many of our kids still struggle with sleep problems. Perhaps try a scientific approach. Trick her body into producing sleep hormones, or providing it with proteins that promote sleep, may work better than any gadget or lullaby.
Make the Bedroom a Sleep-only Zone
Much as you may want to stash your child’s toys in bins by their bed, it might be distracting. If your child has trouble sleeping, make her room a single-use facility, for snoozing only. You can even read stories on the couch, and then sneak into that cool, dark and cave-like room just for z’s.
Invent a Ritual
One sleep scientist wraps a towel around her head each night. As soon as her face touches that terrycloth, her body knows it’s time for sleep. Your sleep ritual can include listening to a particular piece of music or inhaling a consistent aromatherapy scent—anything that a kid’s body can recognize as the last thing before bed.
Get Grandma, the Babysitter, or Your Best Friend to Do Bedtime
Often kids will resist bedtime, or wake up more often, if their parents are around; they might misbehave at home but be peachy at school, with Grandma or with the babysitter. If you have the resources, spend up to a week having someone else do bedtime, to help junior establish a new routine.
Press the Right Points
Acupressure in an ancient Chinese medicine that involves pushing on specific pressure points in the body to relieve stress or toxins. Some practitioners believe that manipulating the 12 acupressure points in children can help them sleep. Companies like Holistic Baby recommend pressing on the specific spots several hours before bedtime, but of course you’ll have to take a class or get a video to learn them.
Consider Crying Uncle
If you’ve spent several years and hundreds of dollars—doctors, objects, self-help books—trying to get your kid to 1) fall asleep on her own and 2) stay asleep, and it’s to no avail, then perhaps the best thing is to give in. Lie down with her until she falls asleep—you can read a book on an e-book reader app, fitted with the special filter of course—and let her crawl into your bed if she just won’t stop. Some experts say that the real secret to a good night sleep is to get it any way you can.