What is the best way to calm a super-active kid for bedtime?

Even when your child is tired and needs sleep, he may be running around with tons of energy when bedtime comes around. How do you help him calm down and go to bed?

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28  Answers

2 9

My duaghter who is 4 today does not like going to bed she is "crazy" from the minute she rises until bed. I found that the best way to get her to go to bed is with a count down. I tell her she has 20 minutes until bed time and then i tell her she can either watch some tv for 20 minutes or i will read her a bed time story for the next 15 minutes. Whatever she chooses is okay with me becuase as soon as those 15 minutes are up she goes and brushes her teeth with me and then i tuk her in. She usually never falls asleep but its better than me springing bed time on her and her throwing a fit. This way she knows what is coming up and she understands why it is bed time (Becuase i said so pretty much)

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5 8

I do this as well w/ our routine. Toddlers/younger kids really like to feel some control...so that choice is a great option! :) They also don't like things to be "sprung" on them...

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24 28

Having a regular bedtime ritual. Takes a couple of days to instill but eventually as long as you keep things the same every night a child should get used to it and calm down

7
1 4

My Daughter is 4 and very active So I "play her out" we play do a puzzle get a relaxing bath ( I swear the lavender in her water works) read her a story ( same one 2-3 times)and she falls asleep.Really try a bath before bed with lavender wash and massage with lavender lotion it will work!!

5
15 17

I also use the lavender bath products and lotions - I have lavender oils that I soak into a cotton ball and put in the bedrooms too.

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5 8

well, my oldest is now 4 1/2, and the best things are: 1. If you don't catch him (or her) before they get tired, toddlers/preK kids have this adrenaline rush that kicks in & makes them even more hyper at bedtime! 2. We have a set routine e.g. bath, brush teeth, read a few SHORT stories or even tell a story, read our Bible and pray, then tuck him in w/ hugs/kisses. This wasn't always this easy!!! 3. I've learned he likes noise to go to sleep so I play a cd every night...we use a nursery rhyme cd. That works bc it puts his mind on something else and since its the same ones each night, its not stimulating. 4. Also dimming the lights in the house and start even talking calmer and it will help! :) Good luck. Consistency is key.

5
534 65

Please don't give your child Melatonin. It is not made for children to take or infants. Try a warm bath, followed by some cuddle time, read your child 2 to 3 books, slowly. Don't try to skim through the pages too quickly. Depending on his age, you could ask him questions about what is in the book. Ask him about the animals, point them out, tell him what sounds the animals make. Point out insects, flowers, the sun, and characters in the books. I also try to read my daughter a book about A,B,C's every night to every other night. She is almost two years old now. She needs to learn the alphabet. You can also pick up some books about numbers, start with a book or two with the numbers 1 to 5, then a few books on 1 to 10.

Then let your child lay down on you or next to you and drink milk, water, or nurse, like I said, depends on his age. Or put him in bed and let him have a few drinks of something, if you'd like, and give him a few stuffed animals, favorite lovey or blankey, and put him to bed. Both of our kids have night lights in their rooms. We found that this helps them to sleep better. The night lights don't put out much light in their room, but just enough so they can see, but not be afraid and the light won't wake them up or keep them from sleeping. I hope this helps.

3
4 6

My son is also in high gear, most of the time. He does have ADHD, but that is not why I am responding. I wanted to explain why I give him Melatonin. My son was having a hard time falling asleep, even after adding to the list of "routine nightly bedtime rituals" his pediatrition suggested we end "screen time" 60 minutes before starting the bedtime routine. That includes DS,DSI,Gameboys,TV etc. and suggested we turn on some music, very soft and low. You dont even have to be able to hear the words, if your music has lyrics and to give him the lowest dose Melatonin. ops not in that order, I give him the melatonin first then i,give a 5 minute warning abut the electronics, he can thenread a book,play a game with me, write a much needed Thank you note, or just a letter to one of his grandparents etc. He picks out what he would like in his lunch for school the next day. Then we head upstairs to brush teeth, wash face and hands and crawl into bed. It is at this time that he and I usually have our best talks. we play a number guessing game and sometimes I will read to him. I know that some people may not have a whole hour to to unwind with their child and that he and I are lucky. (Melatonin is a chemical naturally made by everyones body) and since he heard his doctor tell me that he should take1mg every night and that it would help make him fall and stay asleep,we have had absolutly no problems with the bed time routine. He now looks at the clock, asks for his Melatonine, grabs a piece of fruit and thats how our end of the day, begins.)

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2 6

I find that having an active child is very much like owning a large dog. They both require exercise. My 5 year old is very, very active. When we are out and about she can literally walk for hours/miles and she will fall asleep almost immediately when put to bed. When she doesn't get enough exercise she can almost make me crazy by playing those "bedtime" games. We also have a routine..which is important to us and does make things easier.

2
14 8

I find a routine works very well in these situations. When my daughter was very young getting her to sleep at bedtime was a challenge. I found two songs worked very well. I played the same songs every night. The first was a fast song and I would dance holding here. (she was about two when I started this routine) We would laugh and giggle as I gave it my all. Then came the slow song. As I sang and danced slowly with her she would put her head down on my shoulder and fall to sleep. Sometimes it would take two rounds of the slow song, but she would drop off. I chose music that I liked, that worked. I felt good about the songs, they had a good life message for her, and I never tired of them. When the first came on she knew fun was at hand when the second came on she automatically calmed and slept.
When I had two children I found trying to get them to bed by seven thirty was too hard and I'd get stressed. So I learned that If I put me to bed, by seven. They would automatically follow me. We always had beds big enough for everybody. I'd go in with a bedtime story and they'd come a running. Sometimes the best stories were the ones we made up. I'd always finish up with a lullaby or two, where I'd add their names somewhere.
You'll also find that bedtime when you lay with your children are when they will talk about their fears and worries. Its one of the best times to listen and talk with your young ones and teenagers as well. My daughter is now 20 and overseas, and my son 16. Both of them will still come into my bedroom when I settle down for the evening, and climb in with me and talk about anything that they are working through, and use me as a listening tool. Settling you, will often settle the child.

There's so many different aspects to look at. First diet. Is the child getting sweets, including natural ones like fruit or honey during the day and too close to bedtime. Fruit juices can be significant trigger to high energy if given with or after dinner. Also be aware of food additives like MSG and others like food dies, red in particular that trigger high energy.

I found that going to the playground either before dinner, in colder months and after dinner, in warmer months helped utilize the energy reserves in my children. I always believe that children that don't sleep well, or fall off by themselves haven't played enough during that day.
Having them walk instead of riding or being carried, for periods of time during outings can also help. Fresh air is always good too, even if you have to put extra clothes on both of you in colder months.

2
0 24

thanks for the reminder! music was huge when my son was little, and it somehow stopped over the years....he does ask for it from time to time, so i should welcome it huh. ..... as fer the playing b4/after supper...o god yes!! that helps BIG TIME!! .... you get 4 stars!! ;)

2 0

I have a very active child, and I make sure we stick to a routine. An hour before bedtime tv, games, computer, music all goes off and we do 'quiet' activities like reading, colouring, puzzles etc after his bath. It works for us. Before we started doing this he would be up sometimes until 11, but now he goes to sleep no later than 9

2
27 8

If you can find this video on youtube and play it for him it'll calm him down.
"A mother's prayer" by racheal aldous! its a beautiful song and very relaxing. also try searching for "relaxing bedtime music"

2
0 24

omg what a WONDERFUL way to drift off to sleep! i felt safe in his arms just listening to it now! thankyou so MUCH for sharing!! :)

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7 11

My daughter has sleep issues. She takes melatonin, (I HATE having to give it to her, but I have to.... Doctor recommended, please don't judge me.... She has to sleep) But also, a new thing I have discovered, and hope to be able to ditch the melatonin soon, is chamomile bath salts. The salt relaxes the muscles, and the sent relaxes her. I can't get her to drink the tea, even with honey, but she does like the bath. :D Lavendar baths work for some, but not her. The chamomile has worked wonders though. I found "Dr. Teal's epsom salt" scented with chamomile. It has been a life saver as a single mom!! I need sleep too, LOL. :D

She is four and has had issues since she was about a year and a half old.

1
0 24

thanks fer the tip on the bath salts! sounds like a blessing in disguise!! for mommy's AND babes!! ;) or vice versa...whatever. lol.

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3 12

I have a routine set up when either of my grandsons (4 and 6) visit. They are usually out of sync when they visit, so I start the bedtime routine an hour or so earlier. And keep it within that time slot. After dinner, either one partakes in a favorite activity. Both enjoy playing fun games on the Internet or watching planes or cartoons. I'm usually there participating and teaching them how to navigate the computer. This is a special treat when they've behaved well. They take their bath (more play time) , don their pj's grab three books and climb in bed. We read bedtime stories and talk. They then say their prayers and get tucked in. I usually sing them a song "Close to You" and that usually puts them down. My youngest grandchild is use to routine. My eldest is not. He has difficulty adjusting to a new bed. When he sprouts up, I tell them in my stern voice, to go back to bed. If they get up again, I lead him back to bed without interaction, negotiation or discussion. I continue this - until he gets too tired. My oldest is strong willed. So am I. I have to stay consistent. One thing I've always told my sons and grandson's, When it's bedtime, I am off duty.

1
3 11

I change my 3 year olds nappy and get her to brush her teeth. Then we put a kids movie on and turn the light off. We put her P.J's on and a few minutes later ask her if she's ready for bed, she always says yes! We then take her throught to her room and Dad reads 1 book and Mum reads another. Then it's kisses and night night. She likes the light left on and likes to play with some toys or read a book for about 15 minutes before she falls asleep, I go and turn her light off later. Happy child!

1
14 24

I play this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7x6cZX5m6o

1
1 9

I normally take my son on a walk because he relaxes. When when we get back I cuddle him and we watch some t.v. together then when I say its time for bed I get hugs and kisses I shut off the t.v. and he goes to sleep. Sometimes he gets up and pounds on the door but 5 min later he climbs in bed and is fast asleep. =) he's a good boy and my rock...

1
1,576 0

Our second child had a hugely difficult time unwinding at bedtime. She honestly needed to lay still for close to an hour to relax enough to fall asleep, but it's hard to keep a young child still for that long.

From two and a half to three years old we walked her to sleep in the stroller, covered by a thick blanket. From three until she was about to five I read until she feel asleep - usually an hour every night. I'd use a night light or sit in the hall with the door cracked enough to hear so the room was dark while she was listening.

The walking wasn't so bad because we got errands done, our oldest daughter enjoyed the walk and the baby was often cranky that time of day too and the walk settled him. The reading turned out to be really good. Our girls were very well versed in quality children's literature before they even started school, and they are both amazing readers now.

0
12 58

Lavender acts as a calming agent they're are lotions, soaps, body washes , burning oils of room and air fresheners . Children are usually sleepy but are to keyed up to fall asleep or when they need a calming moment.

0
12 8

We have a structured bedtime ritual - my kids are 9, 8 and 6. Pajamas, teeth brushing, face washing, It also helps when we have our kids do yoga exercises. All three have autism and have crazy energy - so we try to get them to focus on something calming, and trying to breathe. It generally works for them, and my eldest daughter now does it independently, which is cool. I also have to give time intervals for the transition - starting about half an hour before bedtime, so they can prepare themselves for it. Then we either read a story together or sing a lullaby.

0
2 69

the child should be trained to sleep at a certain time from day one. Mom and Dad should be there to teach him to concentrate by reading a story book every night when it is bed time. A night wash is best to calm him down as he quickly drowses into sleep while you read a story for him, or sing a song that he favours to listen, when you see him passing out, do not forget to tell him/her how much you love him, that way he sleeps with confidence knowing that there is someone who cares and cannot sleep right out watching over him/her. throw those dolly friends around him; so he can play with them when your child wakes up in the morning.

0
16 6

I also have used melatonin-- it is highly effective. I tend to use it only if it is clear that my child cannot get to sleep and I know that she has school to attend to the next day. I like to use other things before resorting to it; I have found that a homeopathic product called Calms, made by Hyland's and readily available from many stores and online sources, can help. Also, I have found Celestial Seasoning Tension Tamer and/or Sleepytime teas to be quite effective. Childrens' chamomile extract, available from most health food stores, can also work. Of course, these options are best administered an hour or two before bedtime in order to have the desired effect at bedtime. Warm milk has been an effective longtime standby used by many over the years; however, I discourage the intake of dairy with my children as (1) I do not believe it is an ideal food and (2) it can be a bad thing if the child is experiencing a cold or cough, etc., as it can increase congestion.

0
86 0

My son is almost 8. He has an active mind. So, closing his eyes and falling asleep is hard. He keeps on thnking. He has had a bedtime routine since infancy. We tried melotonin, but it affects his personality and attitude after a few days. What we have done is a three strikes policy, He needs to be quiet, stay in bed . If he is out of bed or noisy, he gets a warning. Three warnings loses his little bit of TV time he gets the next day. When we first started this 7 good nights in a row got a movie. He now is pretty good. I let him have a little reading time in his room. IF he wants to fall asleep in our bed fine. We can move him later.

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0 0

have a solid bedtime routine, ours for mr 2 it yogurt and fruit in high chair, drink of water, brush teeth, bath, pjs, bed. I also find playing classical music softly in his room helps him to go to and stay asleep :)

0
24 0

Our pediatrician recommended melatonin to my boys. My oldest son is asthmatic. I have always encouraged him to be an active participant in his health and at doctor visits. I looked for a long time for a doctor that would talk to him and not just me. He has always been a very smart very verbal child. I believe that if a child can verbalize what is going on with them they should. For this reason when my son started having trouble sleeping he was the one to ask the doctor about it. The pediatrician suggested that he try 1mg of melatonin. It really does help him get to sleep. We have not seen any negative side effects from it. He does not have to take it everyday either. He takes it as he needs it. Another safe alternative is Benadryl if that makes your child sleepy.That being said each child is different. Ask your doctor and don't be afraid to try various thinks until you find something that works for your child.

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7 11

My daughter takes melatonin as well.... Benadryl will have different effects on different children.... It makes my daughter OFF THE HOOK HYPER!! LOL

8 12

I have had my son on a sleep schedule since he was about 3 months. So he knows when he gets his bath, he goes to bed right after. Kids love schedules. They don't do well with unpredictability. The love routine. If you start a routine early, they will be more willing to go to bed when it is bed time because you stick to that every day, and they know.

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139 9

I have teenagers now and they control their bed time routine much more than I do. When they were little though, we started very young. We played classical music or light jazz and it came on an hour before bed time. All things electronic (besides the radio) were shut off an hour before bed time, which typically worked out to be an hour after dinner. They got a warm bath, a glass/bottle (that's how young they were) of warm milk, a couple of stories, and a kiss goodnight. They no longer require the music to sleep, but it was a good way for their bodies to transition to sleep time and it helped cover some of the sounds in the house so not to startle them.

We all have AD/HD. My kids were off the walls when they were little. But bed time has never been a challenge in my house. If you make it relaxing, your child will relax. Talk in a soft voice, don't get excited. Tell him you need him to read to you (I don't know how old he is), I used to do that to my daughter when she was little and wouldn't wind down and she'd crawl up into my lap and "read" to me... sometimes I had no clue what she was saying, but that wasn't the point. She now loves to read.

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54 34

Hi im live in uk.Melatonin is only prescribed over here and i know its only given to kids that dont have the mechanism in the brain to tell them when to sleep.With my kids which are really active we usally begin about 1 hour before bed.have a warm bath,i dont use bedtime bath as it makes my daughters skin sore,but it used to help calm my eldest.My youngest which is 3 1/2 years has a story and a drink.Kiss and cuddle lights out.My older two which are 6 and 7 years usally watch something quite like little bear,they then have a story.My eldest likes a drink of warm milk,then bed,sometimes he likes to read then lights out.But my reccomend is Dana Obleman and her book is worth a read.

0
0 6

My son (3yr) loves it when i read stories and sing songs. I tell him come on son lets go lay on your bed and read a story or sing a song. After a couple of songs he starts getting tired and falls asleep.

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15 17

My little one always enjoys a warm bath and I add lavender bubbles that have a calming effect. I also give her melatonin to help her to relax as she is very active.

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3 18

I wanted to get the dosage on Melatonin from my Dr. because we discussed using it with oldest son last visit but she forgot to give me the info. How much do you give her (How old is she?) and where do you get it?

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18 21

Honestly, an hour routine is required in my house. We do stretches, light and gentle. We do bathes and I read about 30 minutes. Usually, enough for one chapter in our current story book. Since it has little to no pictures my two youngest 3 and 6 will some times draw as I read.

We use melatonin. I have used it since I was a child and we have a family history of insomnia. My pediatrician and I discussed the pros and cons at length. He endorses the use but wanted to make sure I was fully informed because some times it is met with misunderstanding. He feels that given my personal use with it, the lack of side effects or feeling groggy in the morning and a real need for sleep... if I use Melatonin I sleep a very restful 7 hours if I don't use it I need 10 hours of sleep.

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the body. There are many ways to take it but I prefer liquid because the pills can be hard to digest . The USA Today article does not give enough information and encourage you to talk to your family doctor.

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15 17

I have found that the melatonin is a non-narcotic way to help promote restful sleep w/o feeling guilty about using meds. I am a person that rarely will take anything unless truly necessary. I incorporate down time for my 3yr old and we do deep breathing exercises once she is lying down too. She so enjoys that time w/me that she insists on it even when someone else tries to put her to bed (will have to work on that). If melatonin means 5hrs of sleep uninterrupted, that is better than 2hrs at a time!

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