Calming Nighttime Routine 101
with Christine Russell, Co-Founder of Essential Sisters
Getting the kids to bed with minimal fuss can be a challenge but with a simple, consistent routine, bedtime can be made a lot easier and more enjoyable for all.
We asked KHC club member Christine Russell, Founder of 889 Community and Co-Founder of Essential Sisters (as well as certified yoga and meditation instructor) for her tips on creating a calm and consistent nighttime ritual with your little ones.
A nighttime routine or ritual brings a sense of calm, consistency and connection to bedtime. Christine emphasizes the importance of a simple and intentional routine - the one she practices with her three daughters was created based on her own evening routine but she suggests you customize your child's to their own personal needs.
The following are Christine's top tips for setting up a regular nighttime ritual:
- Forgive yourself if it doesn’t go as planned. Nighttime routines (like any habit), take time to create and they don't necessarily happen perfectly every night. Her advice? Release, let go, surrender and begin again the next time.
- Keep the routine simple. If it’s not simple, you won’t do it.
Christine shares her tips for creating a bedtime ritual:
Step one: Diffusing Essential Oils
Essential oils are a big part of Christine and her daughter’s nighttime routines. Essential oils allow parents to create a calming and serene environment in the bedroom before the kids come in to sleep. When they walk in, there’s a sensory shift that says “it’s bedtime”.
Set the mood:
- Sound machine goes on
- Diffuser is set
- Room is tidy
Oil suggestions: Wild Orange – supports sleep, encourages positivity and joy. Lavender – calming and relaxing. Roman Chamomile – great for soothing at night.
Christine suggests 2 drops of each oil in your diffuser of choice.
Christine encourages her two eldest daughters to take an active role in this step of their routine. They help drop the oil into the diffuser and as a result, feel more connected to their nighttime routine.
Step two: Roll-On Essential Oils
Another effective way to use essential oils with your children at bedtime is topically. Christine and her daughters use a set of oils designed specifically for use with children. They can be found here.
This set includes the following essential oils:
- Strong: a protective blend, great for boosting all systems of the body
- Brave: a courage blend, perfect for the back-to-school season
- Thinker: great for focus
- Tamer: a digestive blend, great for upset stomachs and nerves
- Steady: a heart blend, helps children feel grounded
- Rescuer: a soothing blend, great for sore muscles
- Calmer: a sleepy/restful blend
Each night, her daughter’s get to select the essential oil they’d like to use and apply it to the bottom of their feet. The sole of the foot is therapeutically a beautiful and beneficial spot to put essential oils to be absorbed and received into the body. It’s also very safe and easy for children – they feel that autonomy to do this for themselves.
Step three: Practice Affirmations
Christine uses affirmations in her own life, as well as with her children.
Her family has an ‘affirmation pillow’, which they use to recite the following affirmation (which is stitched on the pillow) before bed: “I’m smart, I’m funny, I’m kind, I’m strong, I’m brave, I’m beautiful, I love myself.”
You can create your own affirmations with your kids. Christine suggests writing it on a sticky note and placing it by your children’s bed: "Your child going to sleep in a place of confidence and knowing and being sure of themselves... is a very powerful thing."