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Relaxing activities for toddlers
To help wind down

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#1 Maniacal_laugh

Posted 12 April 2012 - 06:50 PM

We've been having problems with our 19mo DD's sleeps. She's reluctant to go for day sleeps and night sleeps, and wakes several times a night (and is unable to get back to sleep).

I rang Ngala (similar to Tresilian) today for advice, and they thought that she was over-tired and over-stimulated. It was one of those relevations that makes perfect sense and you can't believe you missed! I am clueless about how to play 'quietly' with DD. She doesn't like to play alone, even for a few minutes.

The nurse suggested a quiet bath (not a splashy bath  biggrin.gif ), cuddling soft toys, listening to quiet music, stories and go for a walk as 'wind down' activities. Can anyone think of any others? She's not a cuddly kid so won't sit on my knee for long. DH and I aren't very good at winding down ourselves so need ideas!


#2 ally0812

Posted 12 April 2012 - 06:55 PM

will she sit for a bit of a movie? maybe a cd listen to 3-4 songs while lying in bed? or just telling stories lying down, not a book?

#3 PatG

Posted 12 April 2012 - 06:56 PM

Read a quiet book?  e.g. not one filled with animal noises.

Maybe even make your own book about going to sleep - she could copy all the things in the book (putting teddy in bed etc.) and at the end hopefully be ready to sleep!

#4 Kitty Fantastico

Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:03 PM

When DS was younger and needed help winding down, I turned down the lights and we would watch this globe thing that changed colours slowly. You can buy novelty lights like that from cheapo shops, or a lava lamp if you have one? Just watching the globs floating around might help zone her out.

Maybe a few mins brushing her hair or rubbing her back, stroking her face?

#5 puuky

Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:05 PM

We turn off the main lights and have a soft lamp on for about half an hour before bedtime. We read DS and DD some stories while they drink a cup of milk- but we choose the stories carefully. Nothing that can become too energetic or exciting. We also found that DS can watch TV before bed without it causing issues but it seems to overstimulate DD so she can't watch any TV for a few hours before bedtime.

#6 a letter to Elise.

Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:07 PM

DS loves a massage before sleep. It really helps to calm him down. We put quiet music on, he lies down and I rub his back.

Quiet activities include reading books, drawing, doing puzzles, playing with playdoh, dressing teddies in clothes. If DS is really wound up, we make sure TV is off, we speak in quiet voices, and definitely no rough and tumble play any time near bedtime. Bathtime is also quiet play.

At that age, we gradually started increasing the amount of time DS spent playing on his own as well. If he was happy, I left him alone to do his thing.

#7 Mercurial

Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:13 PM

Look at some family photos.  My kids have always loved to look through family photos albums for ages.

#8 SplashingRainbows

Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:19 PM

We are having success with our 17 month old by:

A big long walk (or two) each day. Use up as much physical energy as you can
Then some quieter activities an outside play in the afternion like:
Duplo/blocks - sitting quietly creating and building, no tv
Play dough
Craft - painting, pasting, drawing
Bath before family dinner generally results in a better sleep at our house (family dinner about 6-6:30, he also has a substantial meal at 5pm)
Post bath Lavender oil massage - seems to help a lot

Winding down after dinner involves
Blocks with daddy
Saying goodnight to the cars/toys/teddies/fridge/anything remotely interesting lol
Nappy change
Breastfeed in the dark

Tv really overstimulates my LO. Playschool is ok but I really try hard to leave it off wherever possible.
Good luck. Hope you find a winning combo.

#9 Feral timtam

Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:34 PM

That's about the age I started REALLY establishing a sleep routine with my son.
I'd turn off the TV, we'd have dinner then he'd have a warm bath and we'd read poetry in the lounge room for 30 minutes. We always finish with Dorothea Mackellar's "My Country" which has become his cue to go to bed.
I then turn out his bedroom light and sit beside him stroking his hair singing a lullaby. It's the same lullaby sung over and over until he falls asleep.

That's our routine. I've always been told to keep the sleep time routines simple and repetitive. Trying to vary it too much just overstimulates them.

#10 Maniacal_laugh

Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:54 PM

Thanks very much everyone, these ideas are just what I needed. It seems so obvious now that she was over-stimulated, I can't believe I missed it. I picked her up from daycare this afternoon, and she looked liked she'd been hitting the amphetimines!

So  tonight it's quiet voices, no rushing, classical music in the background and quiet stories. Off for a non-splashy bath soon.

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