Today’s Spa-light: Dr. A. Gomez Children Bedtime to Great Day. Children often have trouble sleeping. Parents wonder if they are doing something wrong. My work with families centers on developing routines. Predictable rituals for the night.
Toddlers, have them take a warm bath and a story and or prayers (if that applies). This is also a good time for children to reflect on things for which they are Thankful. Please do not go over the schedule for tomorrow. However, this is a good use of the white board and morning ritual. Talking about the future makes them anxious and gets their minds running…Can we do this after we do that?
Questions and Answers:
Refrain questions and answers. Simply put, we are preparing for sleep. We will get their little bodies ready. Dim the lights a bit but enough so you can read the book. Then light music and a night light if needed. Ocean sounds or white noise and classical music often puts them to rest. Kids do not need to be in parent beds. When possible, place a theme in their room. If they likes Dory, get her a comforter. If they likes Paw Patrol. Make the room a place where she or he wants to be. My daughter loves Trolls. We have some nice items from Walmart in that room including a curtain set and sheets.
Remove electronics, TVs. In my line of work I find, they babysit too much or can energize them with the colors and sounds. It is hard, however a child does not need a tv until they have a job. Consistently, take out cell phones and tablets each night and place them in a designated area. We have a basket at home. No texting all night, sorry! You need your rest. The developing brain needs REST. Cells in the body need rest. Parents needs to rest, too.
An important step, withhold fluids for 2 hours before bed and use a good waterproof mattress. A good sleeper can sleep through an accident. Heavy duty pull ups for the potty training kid. No eating or drinking in the bedroom. I tell my little one, I do not like bugs, do you? No? That is what we will have if you leave crumbs in your room. Teens love to have food in their bedrooms. However, when they have to eat in the kitchen, you get to engage them more. You also get a better feel of where they are by their body language and what they say.
Lastly, write a note and leave it in their lunch bag. If they eat meals at school, place on their bathroom mirror. Have a stack of sticky pads with the notes pre-written. “Have a Great Day.” When you leave them at school give them a positive message…No fighting in the car! The teacher will have to deal with your upset kid.
Dr. Antoinette M Gomez, DMFT, LCSW and CAC III339 S. Union St. Kennett Square, PA 19348720-495-9282
Dr. Antoinette Gomez, Harmony Consulting
Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and Registered Play Therapist. Dr. Gomez has devoted 15 years to helping children and their families. successful in relating to one another. In her practice she treats anxiety, depression, trauma, eating disorders, compulsions, addictions, and other life long stressors.
She says, “Lately, I have been working with children with dependence on electronics including games like Minecraft and Fortnight who are angry when their parents set limits on use. One boy was putting holes in the household walls and threatening his mother. That is where parenting is so important.” I work on treating people with an abundance mentality and using CBT, to restructure their thoughts and to see the myriad of opportunities and skills in their lives.
We also treat sleep problems. We over work, we over exercise , we tend not to sleep well….so, setting a sleep hygiene is critical for the brain replenishing. Parents, where did you put my cell phone or tablet? In the bin, turn off the lights, and get some sleep!
Dr. Gomez is also a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
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