No doubt every parent has felt the despair of the overtired toddler. Sometimes they just try so hard not to miss out on anything! Or, maybe you have a rambunctious kid with the go-power of the Energizer Bunny who never sits still. Whichever scenario suits your family, good news! There are natural ways you can ease your toddler into sleep.
Many people are aware that warm milk makes a soothing nighttime sleep aid and herbal tea works well too. Sweeten with a bit of honey to make it more appealing to children. Dehydration can keep kids awake, so a small amount of warm liquid is a good idea. Not too much or you risk interrupting their sleep for bathroom needs! In addition to a small cup of milk or caffeine-free herbal tea, there are also foods known to induce sleepiness in both children and adults. Keep in mind that it takes around an hour for these foods to take full effect, so plan your snacks accordingly!
Naturally sweet figs make an enjoyable treat that’s nutritious too. High in potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron, figs help to relax muscles and provide fiber to keep tummies feeling full.
Another kid favorite, bananas are also packed with potassium and magnesium. These natural muscle relaxants create a feeling of calm plus the amino acid tryptophan they contain is processed into serotonin and melatonin, two compounds that promote feelings of happy sleepiness.
Delicious sweet potatoes are toddler-approved snacks that are full of nutrients. A warm mash is soothing and good for babies while homemade sweet potato chips or fries are a fun way to feed them to older kids.
Almonds and other nuts are high in sleep-inducing nutrients. For a tasty pre-nap snack, whole wheat crackers with nut butter make a good choice. The fiber will keep small stomachs feeling full while the melatonin in the nut butter will make them sleepy.
Double down on relaxing food effects by pairing fruit with cottage cheese. Cottage cheese contains tryptophan which increases serotonin and makes a healthy, filling snack. Add bananas, raspberries or pineapple to naturally sweeten it and take advantage of their bedtime benefits too!
While traditionally a breakfast food here in America, oatmeal is actually packed with minerals and supplements that promote sleepiness! Rich in natural muscle-relaxers like magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and potassium, go easy on sweeteners that may keep kids active. The high fiber content will keep toddlers full until their next mealtime.
These are just a few kid-friendly foods to help toddlers sleep that you can turn to. Experiment to see what works best with your child and what they enjoy. Many fruits, nuts and dairy products offer similar positive effects.