As new parents, we hear a lot about stress management and staying calm, connected, and confident. However, another aspect crucial for sleep is energy and dynamics. If you have figured out good nap times and are now working on other strategies to help nighttime sleep, this may be your answer.
Are you the parent that has a calm bedtime routine? Do you give your little one a calming bath, a massage, tell or read a story, cuddle him, and then put them into bed? All of this and he still doesn’t fall asleep? Keeping things calm at bedtime are good, but not without energy and dynamics in the daytime.
Consider when you have had a day of doing very little. You don’t leave the house. You watch your favorite show, eat, and maybe read a book. It sounds like heaven right now, doesn’t it? That is only because you actually need rest and are exhausted. But, what if you followed this routine every single day? You would eventually become bored, for sure.
It is the same for your baby. If they have had a calm day, it is hard for them to calm down for bedtime. Staying in the same state for different activities means we have a day that lacks energy and dynamics.
Zones of Regulation
Zones of regulation is a concept typically used for children with sensory or neurodevelopmental issues but this same concept works well for neurotypically developing children as well. This is how to describe emotional regulation in children to help you recognize when they are becoming dysregulated.
- Blue Zone: When children feel bored, sick, low in mood, tired, or sluggish. It isn’t easy to get a child up and going in this zone. The only time this is good is right before bedtime.
- Green Zone: The “good to go” zone. A child is alert but not stressed or hyper-aroused. They are happy and ready to concentrate, learn, and communicate.
- Yellow Zone: When children are in the yellow zone, they are stirring up feelings of stress, anxiety, or frustration. They can become hyperactive and not be able to concentrate. They can be calmed down, but if they aren’t, they can escalate quickly into the red zone.
- Red Zone: Extreme anxiety or hyper-arousal occurs in the red zone. A meltdown can happen here. Children become overstressed and can’t think rationally. They will not be able to settle down for bedtime. A child in this zone will scream, hit, cry, or thrash around.
Behavior and Sleep
Your little one will need an ebb and flow to their daily activities. It is ideal to have movement between the green zone and then a calm-down time, which helps him go into the blue zone for bed. Never go from quiet play to a calm walk, to calm interaction with others, to a calm bedtime. Your child will resist sleep because they are stuck in the blue zone.
Add Energy and Dynamics
First of all, do not over-schedule your little one. They don’t have to have activities, classes, or be constantly busy. They can turn cranky or wired if overstimulated, and it is tiring for you as a parent to keep up with all of the activities. Activities do not need to be expensive or even require you to leave the house. Here are some things to try:
- Playing chase, tag, or crawling around an obstacle course made of cushions and pillows
- Tickle sessions (or making your child laugh)
- Reading a book using puppets or actions
- Peekaboo games
- Play at the playground
- Exercise of any kind
- Roughhouse (rolling on the floor, pillow fights)
Paediatric Sleep Trainer in Singapore
Add in excitement and energy to the day, and you will see how much better your child calms down in the evening. Well stimulated children will be tired and ready to go to bed. If you need help with sleep times, consult the Singapore paediatric sleep consultant at Petite Dreamers. Louise will set you up with a free 15-minute discovery call to learn more about the challenges you are facing.