One Simple Trick to Help Kids Fall Asleep Fast

Although I love being a mum, I have to admit that it can be challenging at times. Take the last few months for example: After being poorly one week Oscar suddenly went from sleeping right through the night to seemingly needing no sleep at all! It was a tough time for the whole family.

Every night we would go through the same routine we’d had since he was a baby and he would seem happy to be going to bed. Yet within minutes of us taking him up and saying goodnight he would start screaming for us. We tried everything over those first few weeks, from letting him cry it out, taking him into our bed with us, and even moving his bedtime to a later hour. But nothing seemed to work.

One Simple Trick To Help Kids Fall Asleep Fast

Each night he would get more and more worked up about going up to bed, and it eventually got to the stage where he would only sleep on the settee. And if anyone dared to try and move him once he’d settled down he would wake up and start screaming all over again.

I spent countless nights trying to sleep on one of our living room chairs, but I was uncomfortable due to having scoliosis (a curvature of the spine) and rarely managed to nod off for more than a couple of hours at a time. I began to feel ill and started snapping at the kids for no apparent reason. I stopped blogging and spent pretty much all day craving sleep and feeling sorry for myself. It wasn’t like me at all – I was at the end of my tether and knew that something had to change.

So I did what most mummy’s would do – I turned to Google. I read countless articles on ways to help kids fall asleep, but there was nothing in them that I hadn’t tried already. It seemed hopeless. Then I came across an article on deep breathing, designed to help people who were struggling to switch off at night. I decided to try and incorporate the tip from that into a nice new bedtime routine for Oscar … and it worked like a charm!

ONE SIMPLE TRICK TO HELP KIDS FALL ASLEEP FAST

So, the next night I waited until everyone else was in bed, then I turned down the lights in the living room and turned on Oscar’s favourite cartoon. We cuddled up on the settee and watched it together, and as soon as it finished I turned off the TV. He wasn’t happy about that – and started crying hysterically. So I pulled him towards me, gave him a great big hug and assured him that everything was going to be alright.

I put his head on my shoulder, shushed him a few more times and then started taking a few deep breaths – in and out, in and out, in and out.

Almost instantly Oscar stopped crying. And after I’d taken 4 or 5 deep breaths I noticed that he was beginning to mimic me, taking his own deep breaths – in and out, in and out, in and out. I didn’t need to tell him what to do as deep breathing is just like yawning – it’s contagious! And it’s a completely subconscious cause and effect rhythm that you can fall into with your little one.

When cuddling your child close to you the deep breathing becomes contagious between you. All you have to do is start the rhythm and your child will soon pick up on it. And it works for children of any age.

HOW LONG DO I NEED TO TAKE DEEP BREATHS FOR?

The amount of time spent deep breathing will vary from child to child, but Oscar tends to become really sleepy after just 2-3 minutes, so not long at all. I know that once he starts getting heavier he’s beginning to drift off to sleep, and so I lay him down on his bed and hold his hand until he falls asleep. Again, this usually takes a couple of minutes. And once he’s asleep he rarely wakes up until morning.

After the first few nights of our new routine I noticed that Oscar would come and cuddle up to me as soon as he started getting sleepy, and he also instigated the deep breathing! One night I asked him why he was doing that and he replied with “I’m going to sleep mummy.” This shows me that he understands how effective the deep breathing actually is and that he’s happy for me to use it to help him fall asleep.

WHY DEEP BREATHING CAN ACTUALLY HELP KIDS FALL ASLEEP

Basically, when you apply the deep breathing technique it helps slow down both your own heart rate, and your child’s heart rate. This allows the body to relax and slow down – which is exactly what needs to happen for them to drift off into a peaceful sleep. It can work for us adults too – if you lie in bed at night and are struggling to fall asleep then just take deep breaths in and out, in and out, and you’ll soon feel your heart rate slow down and your whole body start to relax. You’ll drift off in record time!

So next time you’re feeling stressed because your little one refuses to go to sleep just remember that all hope is not lost. Sometimes kids just need their mums. And a great big cuddle. And a few deep breaths to go along with it …

Do you have any other tips to help kids fall asleep fast?
If so I’d love to hear from you – why not leave me a comment below?

Thanks for reading!
With love from Lou SignatureTwitter | Facebook | Bloglovin | Instagram | Pinterest

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38 Comments

  1. 25/02/2016 / 5:41 pm

    What an amazing tip! I am so going to give this a try later on to get the baby to sleep. I wonder if if will work for us?

  2. Fi Ni Neachtain
    15/03/2016 / 8:05 am

    Such a simple thing to do, amazing that we didn’t know about this before! I’ve noticed that this works with my boy too, if we’re lying in bed he hugs my arm and copies my breathing, he always falls asleep now 🙂

  3. 15/03/2016 / 1:33 pm

    Oh wow I’ve never heard of this approach before!! I’ll definitely be giving this a try next time one of them is being a monkey at bedtime (so probably tonight lol) – thanks Lou! xx
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  4. 15/03/2016 / 8:50 pm

    That’s mad. I didn’t know that. I used to rock my first to sleep until he was 2 1/2. Then I went the hard way and did controlled crying. He’s 3 1/2 now and sleep like a log.

  5. 30/03/2016 / 10:16 pm

    That is a great tip. I snuggle with my son at night on occasion and never realized that I was doing the same thing with him to help him relax. I really like your approach to finding a solution,

  6. 30/03/2016 / 10:20 pm

    I do not yet have kids but this is really interesting, I will definitely give the deep breathing technique a try when I am feeling stressed or even suffering from insomnia and see what happens. Glad it worked for you and your boy.
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  7. 31/03/2016 / 2:15 am

    I think all kids go through sleep difficulties throughout their lives. At least. mine did. Some of its normal development and some of the problems are based on fears- whether they are realistic or not. Often a child can’t even verbalize what they are feeling. It’s wonderful that your technique is not only teaching him skills he can use him self, but also comfort and love from you!!!
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  8. Monika Celly
    31/03/2016 / 3:43 am

    Meditation and breathing are great before going to bed – for all age groups. Great article.

  9. 31/03/2016 / 11:14 am

    What an amazing tip I will share it with many of y new mom friends who are up the wall with baby refusing to go to sleep at night, making them cranky for sure. Deep breathing is also a precursor to meditation and allows your heart rate to slow down while letting your mind wander onto more l pleasant thoughts. Use it to dream up your desired life ad so this daily…it is great for attracting that to you. Thanks for sharing!

  10. 31/03/2016 / 2:53 pm

    Children learn from us at that age, by mimicking. You did an awesome job and I’m sure will continue to do.

  11. 01/04/2016 / 11:14 pm

    OMG where was this trick last year when I needed it?! Thank you so much for sharing this trick, I will be using it in the future I have no doubt.

  12. 11/08/2016 / 4:47 pm

    wow I love this! We do lots of giggly play as part of the bedtime routine as laughter actually helps the body release melatonin – the sleep hormone. Some deep breathing afterwards would be the perfect way to wind down! I’m definitely going to try this. #brillblogposts

  13. 11/08/2016 / 9:37 pm

    Oooo this sounds fantastic advice. My eldest son has trouble sleeping so give this a whirl.Thanks for sharing X #brilliantblogposts

  14. 13/07/2017 / 10:57 pm

    I love this! What a fantastic idea, and so lovely too. I am definitely going to be trying this zz
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  15. 20/09/2017 / 8:40 am

    Sounds like a good idea to try and glad to hear it worked on Oscar.

  16. 20/09/2017 / 3:49 pm

    It’s the simplest things isn’t it? It’s a great tip, it’s one I also do when I’m struggling to sleep.

  17. Jessica McDonnell
    20/09/2017 / 5:36 pm

    These are great tips. Deep breathing is very soothing for children, but when I can’t sleep I also deep breath and it helps me nod off.

  18. 20/09/2017 / 6:39 pm

    I have noticed this with my son. Deep breaths mean sleep is on it’s way. 🙂
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  19. 20/09/2017 / 7:30 pm

    What an amazing tip – it’s one I hope to be able to use in the future!

  20. 20/09/2017 / 8:53 pm

    Oh what a great idea!! I have never tried this but I could have done with this tip years ago! We’ve had 13 years of sleepless nights….I might try it on myself though!
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  21. 21/09/2017 / 9:06 am

    relaxation is always key t any down time , i think the problem is children all have tv’s and other things keeping their minds busy in their rooms these days ,

  22. 21/09/2017 / 3:56 pm

    I’m not sure this will work on a 4 month old going through a leap… but I’m going to give it a go! lol. Saying that when our son used to co sleep with us as a toddler and he stirred I’d often breathe heavily into his ear for the same effect. I never really thought about why I did it… makes sense now!
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  23. 22/09/2017 / 6:16 am

    Breathing techniques definitely do wonders to help many of us fall asleep, glad to see that it worked for you guys and Oscar.
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  24. 22/09/2017 / 7:50 am

    This would have been such a great thing to know when my daughter was younger! Haha

  25. 22/09/2017 / 4:37 pm

    As someone that has to babysit a lot I will definitely try this- Wonderful idea!

  26. 23/09/2017 / 5:50 am

    I don’t have any tips as my daughter is a really good sleeper and always has been but I do the deep breaths when trying to sleep and it works a charm xx

  27. 24/09/2017 / 4:25 am

    That’s amazing! I remember doing some deep breath yoga before and it made me generally feel a lot more calmer.

    Thanks for the tip. I will try it.

  28. Rachel
    24/09/2017 / 12:56 pm

    Sounds like a great tip, I’m sure it will help other parents with their children! xo

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