Creating a relaxing environment before bedtime can help children, especially those prone to anxiety, or ADHD, wind down at the end of the day. As part of a neurodivergent family, I recognize how essential routines are and how much we struggle to create and maintain them.
These are suggestions of things my family finds helpful. Sometimes we succeed, and sometimes we don’t. Be kind to yourself as a parent and know you’re doing your best.
My child loves water, so baths at night are a great way to help her wind down. The warm water is soothing and helps calm her nervous system, preparing her for sleep.
My child also loves when we snuggle in her bed. She will frequently use this time to read to us or cuddle her stuffed animals and talk to them. She will also use this time to share things about her day and solve problems. Having a trusted adult to talk to in this safe environment is a great resource.
The environment itself is also essential. My daughter likes dark, quiet spaces. I prefer a noise machine, but she doesn’t. She likes having a bottle of water and always wants to take a drink before bed. She enjoys starting with blankets on her because their weight helps keep her grounded.
When she was younger, I used to rock and sing her to sleep, but now that she’s older, we like to put on guided meditations for kids or gentle music. The guided meditations can help your child focus on each part of their body and mindfully relax them. The voices are soothing and calm, and you can find different stories that will interest any age group. Deep breathing and grounding are a great way to foster a love of mindfulness and meditation and help create the ideal sleep environment.
Bedtime can be a challenge, but I have found that creating a healthy sleep environment and routine can help encourage an easier bedtime and less cranky mornings, all while teaching skills my child can use throughout her life.