Summer means extra long days and a bedtime while the sun is still shining. Often, little ones reject the idea of bedtime before the sun goes down! We’ve got a few suggestions for activities to ease the transition to sleep.
Take BABY on a Sound Adventure (newborn – 18 months)
- Explore sound with your baby before bedtime.
- Put on your favourite lullaby (or sing it yourself) and play along gently with a musical instrument.
- Spread out a blanket and give baby a massage for a bit, take a break and quietly play a cabasa or other gentle shaker instrument. You can make a simple shaker by using an empty oatmeal box with a few beans or pasta pieces placed inside.
- Explore other soft sounds–hum and make other soothing noises with your voice. The exploration should focus baby’s attention on you which then allows you to slow the tempo and hum baby to sleep.
Bedtime Theatre for your TODDLER (1.5 – 3 years)
Add a new twist to your family’s bedtime ritual. Read a favourite story–it can be a classic fairy tale such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears or pick one of your own favourites. Act out this story with finger puppets that you have, or improvise and draw a quick face on your fingers with a washable marker. Make part of the story a song and you’ll have a mini-musical! Ask your child for ideas about how to add sound effects. Add stuffed animals to the mix, too!
For more ideas about storytelling, check out this site.
De-Mystify the Dark for your PRESCHOOLER (3 – 5 years)
Bedtime can be a challenge if your child is afraid of the dark. Going on a fun family nighttime adventure can be the perfect way to help her feel comfortable. Go for a moonlight swing at the park, sing songs that are calm and relaxing, or make shadow puppets with her while sitting in her bed. Show your child that you enjoy the dark, and she will too.
- On a warm night, have a picnic in your backyard and watch the sun set.
- Take a walk to a familiar corner store for a small treat–somehow, your neighbourhood places become more mysterious and magical at night!
- Turn out the light and turn on the flashlight as you read the last few pages of a bedtime story.
- To ease bedtime fears, give your child an empty spray bottle to use as Monster Repellent–but warn them they only need a little. It can be strong stuff!
Discover the Night Sky with your Big Kid (5 years and up)
The Moon can be a magical nightlight for a child, but it’s also fun to learn more about the moon and the night sky. Did you know that the places on the Moon have names just like places on Earth? The next time the moon is full, look up at the Man in the Moon with your child to see if you can find some of these places with him.
Remind him that, although many of them are called “seas,” there’s no water on the moon (at least we haven’t found it yet!) Use a telescope or a pair of binoculars if you have them.
- The Sea of Cold–the top of his head
- The Sea of Rains–the eye we see to the left
- The Sea of Serenity–the eye we see to the right
- The Sea of Tranquility–the bag under the eye we see to the right (The Sea of Tranquility is where the very first moon landing took place on July 20, 1969.)
- The craters Copernicus and Brother Maura–his nose
- The Sea of Clouds–his mouth
- The Sea of Storms–the big bruise next to the eye on the left
Click HERE for more moon-watching tips.