What child is this, who laid to rest on Mary’s lap, is sleeping? The beautiful Christmas anthem may have described some good sleeping moments for this early family, but since Jesus, Yeshua, was as a real child and I can promise you Mary and Joseph had some sleepless nights. While your young one probably doesn’t have to be whisked away from Herod into Egypt, a child sleeping in heavenly peace would be a God-send to some of you weary parents! Sleep was a blessing Jesus had as an adult even in storms, with disciples fearing death, He managed a few good winks asleep on the cushions. And since the Word of God promises the blessing of sleep without the harassment of the enemies like night terrors and fear (Psalm 3:1-6), here are a few tips to cultivate quality sleep for your child.
Water, fruits & vegetables – Remember how Daniel proved himself with a simple diet? Research backs the biblical time and again. If your child gets adequate servings of fruits and vegetables, they won’t need all the juices with sugar and additives. Water is even acquired in our systems from fruits & veggies, so don’t think your child has to drink 8 glasses of water. Since the body is made mostly of water, it is best fueled by it to unlock the nutrients in our diets. We did a taste test of infused waters among our preschoolers and elementary students at our academy Health Week, and believe it or not, all the kids overwhelmingly loved the water with slices of cucumbers! The orange water and lemon/lime water (sliced fruit in pitchers of water) were close favorites. The more water, fruits, & veggies in the diet, the better body chemistry and brain chemistry for sleep.
The 1-hour rule – Adopt the routine at night of shutting off all electronics 1 hour before bed. The light of video games, television, even phone light all stimulate the brain and signal “it’s time to think and play!” Shut off all devices, and soon your child’s brain and body will follow the routine.
Bath & Books – During the hour without devices, make sure Bathtime and reading routines are calm and enjoyable. Add some lavender to the bath water, allow play time…then cuddle up in bed or in a rocker to read together (it really is okay to let the dishes and laundry wait until you’ve had some Fam Time!) Statistics prove that children read to daily thrive academically with higher scores. It must be part of the inborn human need in panim al panim, God’s design for face to face communication and interaction.
God’s Word Nightly – Let prayer and Scripture be the last things said before bed. Use the little tool of the Confessions for Raising Winning Kids mini book to practice quoting and memorizing key verses, like “I lay down in peace, and sleep, for You O Lord make me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8) or ”Great is my peace for I am taught of the Lord, and no weapon formed against me will prosper.” (Isaiah 54:13, 17) If we believe God’s spoken words created the universe, then surely our faith in His Word spoken into our situations and lives will create better outcomes than the ones we’re in! Teach your kids to value God’s Word through nightly routines…forgive and forget the day’s mishaps…hug and kiss goodnight – and give it some time to "take." You & your child will lay at rest sleeping in heavenly peace!