It can be tough to fall asleep with the day’s worries on your mind. The same can be said for our children. Perhaps it was a disagreement they had with a friend that day, or a subject at school they are struggling with. Maybe their upcoming hockey tournament is keeping them up at night, or they are experiencing a social dilemma that they are unsure of how to work through.
Communicating their fears and worries is something that we want to encourage, but it can be difficult for children to vocalize their feelings. It’s important though, to release these anxious thoughts to calm our bodies and minds and help make falling asleep easier.
Sometimes just saying it out loud helps. But what if saying it out loud is too hard?
Could writing it down be easier? A shared journal or personalized feelings box can be the key to bring back bedtime, quiet minds, and create a bridge of communication between parent and child.
SHARED BEDTIME JOURNAL
Purchase a journal with your child, one that they choose, and while decorating it you can create your journal sharing rules. The understanding is that it will be kept in an area of your child’s room so that both of you have access to read the journal. Each night, if your child chooses, he can write in the journal anything on his mind that he wants you to know. At times he may just want you to know of a situation but not discuss it with you. Sometimes just telling you is enough to ease the worry or frustrations.
This is where it’s important to create your sharing rules. Your child can write that they don’t want to discuss the situation with you but that they just wanted you to know about it. If this happens you need to respect their wishes and follow the rules or else the communication may stop. You can tell your child that you will abide by their wishes unless you feel what they have shared may be dangerous or harmful to their well-being. Your shared journal can also be a great way for you to communicate with your child. Your rules can include that you can also write in the journal.
PERSONALIZED FEELINGS BOX
A feelings box can be a great addition to your child’s bedroom. Have fun creating their very own box. You can head over to your local crafts store and design the perfect box for you and your child to pass written notes.
There are no rules to what each of you can write in your journal or feelings box.
- Their fears or concerns
- If they are having trouble with their friends or difficulties at school
- Disagreements they’ve had at home that they are having a hard time talking about.
- Any issues or questions you both may have.
- Goals, wishes, or happy moments you each want to share.
When requested, you can discuss what was written down at bedtime. Maybe your child wants your opinion and input and this is a great way to collect your thoughts before your respond. Opening this communication with a shared journal or feelings box as a starting point, can quiet your child’s mind making drifting off to sleep easy and welcomed.
Alanna McGinn, founder of Good Night Sleep Site, provides free child and family sleep support through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We invite you to join our sleep community as we work towards Good Night Sleep Site’s mission of a healthier rested family unit. For more sleep tips, subscribe to our newsletter and visit Good Night Sleep Site.