7 Natural Sleep Aids for Kids

7 Natural Tricks to Help Kids SleepI thought we'd gotten past the "no sleep for Mom stage" back when my daughter was a newborn. Oh, how wrong I was. My daughter is 8 years old, and she is not sleeping. It has turned our entire household upside down. Even the dogs don't know when to get up and bark and when to lie down and be lazy.

Everyone and their mother tell me the secret is a solid bedtime routine, but we've already got that down. We've done the same bath (or shower), jammies, story, snuggles routine for years! And it's not working anymore.

I've been getting desperate. A number of parents were praising melatonin to get kids to sleep, and they almost had me. I was thisclose, but then I got nervous. What if my kid is the kid who becomes dependent on drugs to sleep or worse?

So what's a mom to do? I've been turning to natural sleep aids that are safe for kids and might actually get me some much needed rest!

More From The Stir: My 8-Year-Old's Insomnia Is Ruining My Life

1. Chamomile tea -- I always knew chamomile was calming, but according to Dr. Oz, it's also a natural sleep inducer

2. Lavender oil -- A friend puts a few drops on her kids' feet at night, and the soothing aromas help them drift off to dreamland. According to the studies, she's on to something. Lavender has been shown "to slow down heart rate, slow blood pressure, and put you in a parasympathetic [relaxed] state."

3. Bananas -- I have often heard that a banana before bed will boost your potassium level and help reduce leg cramps -- if you're prone to them. But it turns out the tasty fruits also contain tryptophan -- the same sleep-inducing amino acid that makes you sleepy after you indulge in Thanksgiving turkey.

4. Massage -- What? If mama's not getting a massage, ain't nobody getting a massage? Don't knock it until you try it! A rub-down on a kid will induce the same soporific effects it does in adults.

More From The Stir: 6 Tricks to Getting Your Toddler to Sleep in His Own Bed

5. Kick out the gadgets -- Kiddos are becoming increasingly hooked on electronics, but even if you swear the TV helps your tot to sleep, science says otherwise. Doctors suggest limiting screentime (including tablets, computers, TV, etc) to no more than two hours a day, and not before bed.

6. Linen spray -- Kid won't drink tea or let you apply oil to their feet? Sounds like a kid! But there's a way around it -- spray their pillow and/or sheets with a soothing scent. You can even make your own linen spray with lavender and chamomile.

7. Pink noise -- You've heard of white noise, but what is pink noise? Apparently it's a type of sound in which every octave carries the same power, and according to at least one study, it doesn't just help people sleep, it promotes "stable sleep," the most restful kind. To get some for your kids, try a fan or a noisemaker that produces sounds similar to falling rain.

How do you get your kids to sleep?


Image by Jeanne Sager

kid sleep, kid health


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Choco... Chocodoxies

I use oils in my home for a number of ailments, and they work far better than most over the counter medications. For my children I don't use lavender. Young children often respond more to Roman Chamomile. I put it on their feet (the largest pores on our bodies are on the soles of our feet) and on thier forehead or back.  We also use a sound machine for what I always called white noise (and frankly it sounds exactly like pink noise). 

YudyC YudyC

The warm mist humidifier in my sons room sounds so much like rain outside it fools me.

Belle... BelleScorp

I sing my son to sleep. Works every time

nonmember avatar KarieR

Melatonin is not a drug. If people would take the time to educate themselves they would know that your body already produces melatonin, which is a natural sleep hormone. Some people just don't produce the same amount as others, thus making them not able to fall asleep, like my 12 year daughter. And for her it's either a 3mg tablet of melatonin every night or the meds that she was prescribed that lowered her heart rate so much that she would slur and drool.

Manth Manth

None of these worked for my daughter.  From a tiny baby onwards, bedtime was a major struggle.  Even once she had got the idea that she at least had to lie down quietly in a dark room, regardless of whether she slept or not, she had trouble getting to sleep.  NOTHING worked, at all, to induce her to sleep.

She still does have trouble getting to sleep (she's 19 now).  Fortunately she's at University these days and has managed to arrange her timetable most of the time so she starts later and finishes later in the day which seems to suit her body clock better.  She's just one of those people who is still wide awake and raring to go at midnight.  She comes by it honestly - both her father and I are Owls, too.


taira... tairakittie

We do the fans, but it doesnt always help them fall asleep, it just helps us stay asleep. :/ I will try the camomile tea and lavender oils, SOMETHING has to give. We start our bedtime routine around 8pm every night and for the last couple of months, both my 4 and 6 year old have been staying up until 10!!! I start out trying to be nice, but 2 hours later I am yelling at them to stay in bed and feel so bad once they do fall asleep because I had yelled at them. :(

nonmember avatar candi

The only problem with melatonin supplements is everyone I know who have taken them have had scary strange dreams. Bordering on night terrors. (KarieR, I am glad they are working for your daughter and she doesn't have this side effect from it. :))

I was given a tryptophan supplment that work pretty well for a restful sleep.

magic... magicbarr

We were blessed with having a daughter who starting sleeping thru the night at 2 months for 11-12 hrs. a night. She'll be 4 soon and sleeps from 8:30pm (sometimes 7:30pm) until 7:15 am. On the weekends she sleeps until 9-9:30. We've used the same routine since she was a baby. Shower or bathan hour before bed, a story, 10 mins of her "reading" to us, and then a hug and kiss good-night. We have her choose which star lights she wants on and we use her musical Violet that turns off after 20 mins. She also takes a 3 hour nap at home on the weekends, but about an hour one while at preschool.

Pixie030 Pixie030

I take melatonin myself and don't have any bad or weird dreams with it. Insomnia runs in my family and my oldest son has been fighting it now, I have tried all those usual methods to help him sleep but none of it works. I have wanted to try a light dose of Melatonin for him but scared cause I don't know how much he should have. I know they have the 1mg ones that I think is the lowest dose.. He is 6 yrs old and 63 lbs.. anyone know what it should be? Or a different method other than what is posted above?

nonmember avatar Ashley

Melatonin has hormonal properties and depressive after effects....don't alter that bubbly disposition for a hungover druggy!! Really can produce irrability as an after effect.

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