1. An evening routine
Establish the same evening routine every night before going to bed. Repetition and familiarity will make your child feel safe and have a calming effect. Keep it simple, you could start with a bath, then brushing teeth, followed by a bedtime story and a goodnight cuddle.
2. Breathing and relaxation
You and your child can try deep breathing exercises together, as well as learning and practicing simple mindfulness techniques.
3. Look beneath the surface
Think about what might be making your child feel unsettled. Has your child had enough food, drink and rest? Feeling hungry, thirsty or tired can make children restless. Put a routine in place for the day ahead, making sure you’re taking these things into account. Check there isn’t anything preventing your child from getting a good night’s sleep, like being scared of the dark, or worrying about something.
4. Reduce external stimuli
Is their environment too noisy or too bright? A constant flood of stimuli can make your child unsettled. This is something to consider when thinking about managing your child’s time on digital devices. Try and avoid screen-time just before nap-time or bed-time, and instead speak in a calm voice and dim the lights in the room.
5. Physical contact
Touch can be very powerful when calming children down. Try putting your child on your knee, or holding your child to calm them down more easily. Stroking your child’s head, neck or back can be very soothing. Massages can help, or applying pressure from the top to the bottom of their back. Find out what helps to soothe your child best.
6. Physical activity during the day
Active play helps children deal with pent-up energy. Especially outdoor play, getting some fresh air during the day can help a child settle more easily in the evening.
7. Give positive attention
Your child needs positive attention. Be present, talk to them, praise them and listen to them throughout the day. This shows them that you’re interested in them and that they don’t need to attract your attention by misbehaving.
Tips Maija Hytti