Some children can stress about going to sleep. These tips will give you and your little one methods to cope, relax, and eventually nod off.

Here’s some tips to help you unwind and get to sleep:

1. Routine is crucial

Patterns and routine will help your child ready themselves for sleep as they will recognise the familiar behaviours. A calm, quiet and softly lit place to sleep will help them settle down.

2. Turn off electronics

Watching TV or playing computer games keeps your child stimulated later into the night and cuts into sleep time, making it harder for them to concentrate the next day. Getting rid of distractions like computers and phones will help them settle their minds before rest.

3. Create a “worry box”

If your child frets before sleep and the worries stop them relaxing, use a “worry box” – your child draws or writes about their worries during the day and contemplates possible solutions. Before bedtime, put the worries in the box as a physical act of letting go.

4. Deep breathing for relaxation

Breathing and visualisation techniques can help calm your child before sleep. Teach them to take slow, deep breaths, inhaling for four counts, holding for four counts, and then exhaling for four counts (bubble-blowing can be a great method of teaching slow breathing!). Repeat this exercise up to four times each night.

5. Visual imagery can help

When choosing a bedtime book, look for ones with pictures or a place your child can visualise (avoid anything dark or scary!). Talk about the pictures and ask your child if they can imagine it in their mind – learning how to create pictures in their minds (visualisation) will help them to relax.

For more information and tips see www.raisingchildren.net.au.