Not too long ago we were in the car riding back from a magical day at Disney World. My husband and I were silently listening to music when my daughter let out a blood-curdling scream. It was followed by running and punching and crying and shouting. I looked at him terrified and reached back to grab her legs and wake her up. She didn't wake up. I called her name and shook her thigh, still nothing. So finally I crawled into the backseat and laid my body on top of hers to hold her the best I could while she was strapped in her car seat dead asleep. It was awful. I felt helpless and scared and heartbroken for my baby who was locked in this place of fear that I couldn’t save her from. Unfortunately, that was just the beginning. The nights that followed were full of night terrors, which turned into evenings of breakdowns because she was terrified of going to sleep.
I did some research and made some phone calls, and I were left with more questions than answers. I couldn’t live in this routine of nighttime freakouts followed by not sleeping while she was being tortured by night terrors every night, so we made some changes. And by the grace of God, they worked! Here is our new nightmare-free night time routine.
The first change we made is we cut out a decent amount of sugar. We didn’t cut out all sugar, but we did cut out the ridiculous amount of excess sugar we were letting her consume. Juice, fruit snacks, and cookies were replaced with water and fruit. And we quit my kid’s candy addiction cold turkey! Haha. She used to eat frozen waffles with whipped cream for breakfast (don’t judge me haha), so we eliminated the whipped cream and added berries. While this didn’t eliminate the night terrors at night, it did completely change her energy levels and attitude. She stopped napping and stopped having the midday break downs she did when she skipped nap time. While this was great progress, the problem wasn’t fixed. So we continued making changes.
Our next step was to create a calming nighttime routine. We had a pretty good night time routine when Ellie was a baby, but as she got older we let ourselves get lazy and fall away from it. It went from being a calming, loving family time to just the essentials. So it was time to shift our priorities and focus on a calming environment. Low stress, no rush calm downtime.
This is our bedtime new calming routine:
Hugs and Kisses
If we are ever short on time we have one very short book that I will read to Ellie. My go-to short book is Time For Bed by Mem Fox.
If we have our ideal bedtime, I allow Ellie to choose a couple of books to read. Check out some of our favorite books here!
The last thing we added to our nighttime routine (this was a game-changer) we obtained… MONSTER SPRAY!
Monster spray is very special and very hard to come by… haha just kidding! Our monster spray was given to us by Ellie’s Lolli. It is simply SCENTSY room spray. BUT with a homemade label, it’s just like Micheal’s “Secret Stuff” in Space Jam! Bahaha!
We diffuse essential oils in her room as she sleeps. This is the diffuser we use. Ellie loves it because it also acts as a night light and she can change the color to whatever color she likes! I love it because it’s silent and the light can be completely turned off.
What are your bedtime essentials?