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  • Writer's pictureA Wild Lass

How To Get Kids To Calm Down Naturally for Nap and Bedtime

Updated: Mar 13, 2019

Screaming. Chaos. The exact opposite of how you pictured nap time.

Is this what bedtime in your house looks like every day?

When you’re stocking up for a new baby, you don’t think about how little sleep you’re going to get over the next few years, or how difficult it will be to calm them down for nap.

Good thing we have some practical tips for how to get kids to sleep, whether you’re struggling with naps or evening bedtime. Check it out.

*Disclaimer: Some of the links you see may be affiliate links. All that means is if you click through and end up making a purchase, I’ll earn a commission.

Photo by Zach Vessels on Unsplash

Let Them Know What’s Happening

Tell them what’s next, and what the next activity is.

You can say something like this: “Kids, listen.”

{wait until they actually stop and listen to you}

“We’re going to have some lunch and then we’ll read a book and do yoga. Then it will be naptime, okay?”

Make sure each child looks at you and affirms that they heard you, even if they don’t agree that they want to participate in all the activities.

Routine is good for kids. While too much planning can overwhelm them and they can’t remember what comes next, toddlers especially need help to transition to the next activity.


Offer a snack or lunch before you want them to sleep. It helps them stop moving and also takes away the excuse that they’re hungry and can’t sleep. You can make it fun by serving it in a lunch box, even if you're staying home for the meal.

Make sure you offer a healthy choice (fruit, veggie, or protein) before the junk food. Too much sugar before trying to sleep can make kids wiggly and frustrated when they have a hard time making their bodies obey.

Take a deep breath, even if you’re trying to stay on a schedule. Rushing kids to eat isn’t helpful to them, and it stresses them out. Also, they can sense when you’re worked up, and that makes them feel the same way.

Calm Down Activity

Some kind of quiet activity, whether playing while sitting, or cuddling on the couch with a book (my kids love Paw Patrol), is really good for helping kids calm down. Their heart rates slow as they sit and relax, rather than running around and screaming like banshees. Come on, it must happen in your house, too, right?

Cuddle on the couch with the kids and get warm and cozy. Invite them to each choose a book, and then go to town. Whether you get inventive with the voices, or simply ad-lib through the story that has too many words, they won’t notice.

Reading is good for kids, and the quiet activity helps them be warm and ready to sleep. It also helps your kids learn to read when you read to them.

“Calm your bodies down” is a popular phrase in our house. I want my kids to know that they can control their arms and legs and that self-control takes practice.

How To Get Kids To Sleep: Yoga Is The Best

While many Christians find practicing yoga controversial, it has been very helpful for us. The combination of breathing with physical movement is a great way to get the kids to move their bodies {which they really, really want to do, mostly when it’s time to stop moving them} and also slow them down.

We are able to stretch and breathe and I promise we aren’t worshiping pagan gods while we’re doing it.

Here’s a link to our favorite kids’ yoga routine. We like this one because it’s short {about 5 minutes} so it holds their attention. It’s also specifically for calming down, so it ends in corpse pose, which is just laying on the ground.

It’s gotten to the point where my kids ask to do yoga if I forget. By the end of the 5 minutes, I’m always glad we took the time for it because I feel calmer, too.

Turn Down the Lights

It helps us calm down if we lower the lights about halfway. One of my daughters has a touch-on light with three settings, and I set it at the lowest one while we get ready for bed. It tells their brains and circadian rhythms that it’s time to sleep now.

This is particularly helpful at night, when it’s dark outside so a bright light inside is a huge contrast and can make your eyes tired to look between them.

Now you can proceed with whatever your bedtime routine is. The kids should be calmed down enough to at least try to sleep, even if it takes a bit. Sometimes mine don’t even fall asleep during naps, but at least they get time to spend by themselves, which also helps them reset for the rest of the day.

Finally, Some Rest

I hope these tips for how to get kids to sleep at nap time are helpful as you navigate nap and bedtime with your own kids. All kids are different, which is what makes parenting blog so laughable.

What works for you may not work for someone else. And some kids don’t need as much sleep as others.

If you were successful today, you can go prep dinner now {try my favorite Hard Cider Angel Hair Chicken} or write a post for your blog {hello, that’s me this afternoon}.

Or just relax because being a mom is HARD! Right there with you, wild mama.

For more helpful adventurous mom blog posts or to book A Wild Lass as a speaker, read more on the website.

*Disclaimer: Some of the links you see may be affiliate links. All that means is if you click through and end up making a purchase, I’ll earn a commission.

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