Whether your little Miss or Mister is consistently difficult to settle to sleep, or just throws in the occasional sleep settling ‘wobbly’, this backup plan will give you back your evenings, and have you and the kids wake up REFRESHED and ready to start your busy day.


First of all – if you are on a good thing stick to it!

Some parents have sleep routines that work well for them and suit their family ranging from breast-feeding to sleep, bed sharing, play bath story bed…it doesn’t really matter what you use as long as it works for the whole family.

If you had a great routine that suddenly no longer works or if you’ve struggled to find a solution at all, rest assured there is an answer – try the three R’ for helping your child have a great nights sleep – Routine, Re-Connection and Relaxation.

1. Routine, Routine, Routine, Routine and Routine

  • Keep pre-bed routines short, 20 minutes maximum, and not too stimulating…remember you are winding down to sleep.
  • Hunger can be an issue. Offer a protein based bedtime snack – it may prevent them waking during the night.
  • Keep windows well covered…especially during daylight saving when long days keep the room light.
  • A low wattage night-light can allay fears.
  • Keep doors open…children feel safe when they feel you can be accessed easily.

2. Re-Connection

Children need and want to be with parents.

Connection and responsiveness between child and parent promotes bonding.

A strong connection provides your child with emotional security to later develop self-control and the ability to self-settle when developmentally ready.

Don’t be afraid to spend a little time re-connecting and satisfying your child’s emotional needs.

  •  Some sleep techniques advise avoiding eye contact and close touch, but as part of your bedtime routine it is okay to be fully focused on your child.
  •  Cuddle, pat, sing, hum, rock – whatever you feel helps them feel safe, secure and loved.

 3. Relaxation

Without achieving a state of relaxation your child can’t fall asleep – it is as simple as that.

  • The essential ingredient in your child’s relaxed state is taking that time for re-connection and so fill their ‘emotional cup’.
  • Once your child feels connected they will be able to relax, and you will also enjoy the experience.
  • A useful settling tool can help them transition to a state of deep relaxation with gentle song, soft meditative music or a favourite cuddle toy or blanket.

So if you’re longing for littlies to settle quickly, invest in the Three R’s…


And enjoy YOUR serenity!

Main image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
  • Some good tips here. I’ve always been keen on rest, structure, routine and regularity, especially for the younger kids.
    Interesting enough we used these principals as well in psychiatry, to get people back in reality by (threatening) psychosis.
    Some kids (like my daughter with Down syndrome, or kids with ODD, ADHD) will always be more sensitive to structure.
    Music doesn’t work well here, but winding down before bed, relaxation, routine and structure are certainly important tools.


  • I can definitely relate to this. Very wise tips.


  • My daughter has always been a deep sleeper, still is. Whilst my son is the opposite, wakes at the drop of a pin…..and isn’t in a good mood as a result


  • Yes indeed! This is interesting! Thank you for sharing this!


  • Great tips, very helpful. Thanks for sharing :)


  • My daughter has always fallen asleep best having a cuddle. She has the same 30 minute routine of bath/ wash, teeth, meds, story, milk, loo stop then snuggles & she’s normally out like a light within 5minutes. The only time we ever had trouble was when we put her to bed without snuggling with her so we went back to the lap snuggle & she transfers like a dream. Also swear by the night lights. We have found that as long as the snuggles is there the routine can be changed around & she will also sleep anywhere (thankfully!)

    • lol yeah. i feel like i could go to sleep right now


  • I had a horrible time with my eldest from birth until she was just over a year …she never slept…I have no idea how a small baby could have enough energy to scream for 12hrs and only sleep for 20mins and then be screaming again.
    Once we got through that she was not a problem to get to bed at night and my other two were a breeze right from day one….phew


  • We use a night light plus rainforest sounds. The rainforest runs quietly for 15 minutes. The night light stays on all night. We also have a great routine that works
    Great advice


  • My kids have had the same bedtime since day one, there is no fights about bedtime. It has worked on 4 kids, oldest being 16.


  • Some good advice. I find the kids always get a final burst of energy at bed time!


  • great tips for first time mums


  • I really struggle with number 3. She must feel my anxiety and it tenses us both up. Although I can’t find a way around my emotions. Maybe I need to consider getting her a sleeping CD.

    • Nigh’ Nigh’ sleepy head is the only sleep Cd that allows parents to support their children to relax into deep sleep. The gentle lyrics affirm to your child that it is sleep time and children love parents to sing pat or hum to the rhythm. Then the instrumental guides them into deep sleep. Our Cd offers free digital download with every Cd purchase.


  • Great ideas in theory, but unfortunately for some people not everything is as easy as that. I have 5 children between the ages of 1 and 10 so they all have different needs and routines. Trying to wind down 5 kids who don’t listen is a challenge, and they don’t sleep at the “perfect” time, but all I can do is try my best to get them to co-operate and settle down for the night. Sometimes it’s just too stressful to fight it. As long as they are healthy and happy that’s really what matters.

    • Bedtimes must be a busy time for you and would require a well thought out plan of action as routine really needs to be a consistent feature. Children become accustomed to knowing the bedtime routine and it helps give them a sense of knowing what is expected and therefore security. Many parents have used the Nigh’ Nigh’ Cd sleep system so what is described in the article is not just ‘theory’…it really does work. Re-connection is an important part of the settling process and a lovely time to just ‘be’ present with your children at the end of the day. Many parents however have stated they don’t stay with their children when they use Nigh’ Nigh’ as they just fall asleep independently. Thanks for the comments. Cheers Deb Herdman.


  • i love these tips and i will certainly be putting them into play so my daughter can get in a good relaxed sleep


  • sounds awesome


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