Hannah Sylcox, an occupational therapist (and mother), took to TikTok on June 12 to share some of her most prominent parenting hacks when the kids ‘seem to be extra feral right before bedtime.’ She provided four occupational therapy sensory calming sleep tips to help parents regulate their child’s sensory system.
Her parenting hacks have been viewed on TikTok more than one million times and have received nearly 100k likes and 30k bookmarks. The tips she provides are designed to put the child in a ‘more relaxed and calm state,’ but not in a way that robs either the child or parent of ‘having fun’ and ‘building connection.’
The first hack is what she calls the ‘Burrito Roll.’ In the video, she instructs the parent to wrap a blanket or towel around the child’s body as they lay on their back. By rolling them up like a burrito – nice and snug – you’ll provide ‘deep proprioceptive input into the child’s body,’ which results in a more calm state of mind.
The second hack is what she calls ‘Pillow Squishes.’ With your child either lying on their stomach or rolled up in a burrito, use a pillow to gently press down and apply pressure onto their body, like a massage. This helps to bring the child’s ‘nervous systems into more of a balanced response/balanced state of arousal.’
The third hack is what she refers to as ‘Exercise Ball Rocking.’ For those that have a yoga ball or exercise ball, lay your child on their stomach on top of the ball and hold them in place while you gently rock them back and forth. The repetitive, rhythmic rocking helps children relax by providing calming vestibular input.
The fourth hack is ‘Warmth.’ When it’s time for your children to start winding down and getting ready for bed, stick their blankies and/or stuffed animals in the dryer. The warmth puts their mind in a calm and relaxed state. “I hope this works for your kids as well as it has worked for mine!!” she wrote in the caption.
Getting your child in a solid bedtime routine will also help them identify when it’s time to wind down and when it’s time to act wild. Avoiding electronics, avoiding food or drinks with caffeine, and dimming the lights throughout the home can also help provide a more calm and relaxed environment for the children.
Users Comment With Their Own Parenting Hacks
As with any video on TikTok, the comments section was filled with mothers and fathers discussing their own parenting hacks when getting their children to bed on time and in a relaxed state of mind. In fact, one parent even admitted that she now puts her own blanket in the dryer before bed – it works for adults, too!
“I will never be as relaxed as I was when my nurse wrapped [me] in warm blankets to calm me after surgery,” someone else wrote, while another user joked, “Well I’m gonna have to start with my husband because he’s the one who gets them all hyper before bed and then leaves to watch a [movie].”
One user said their household started to ‘accept the crazy’ and now they have ‘family late night dance parties’ for a half-hour before bed – adding that her ‘little lady clocks out’ afterward. Another user, who revealed she has insomnia, said she’s going to try the parenting hacks on herself before going to bed.
Of course, a lot of the comments were warning parents that not every child will respond positively to the parenting hacks described above. Since all children are unique, it’ll often take unique measures to keep them calm and relaxed at night. For those that are just getting started, the tips above are a good place to start.
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