Sleep-deprived parents don’t have time to read blog posts, so this next sentence is just for them: Try spraying lavender oil extract on your little one’s pajamas, pillow, bedding, teddy, etc.  (Buy it at your local health or organic store or easily make your own with just a few simple ingredients.) OK. Thanks for stopping by…

I recently gave this a try with my two sons, ages three and 21 months this past week and so far it has been a raging success. They both fall asleep much more quickly and with far less fuss than before I added the “magic sleep spray” to my arsenal of sleepy-time tricks.

Obviously all children are different and what works for mine may not work for yours and vice versa. That said, if you are having bedtime battles and want to try a few simple things that have helped myself and other parents, consider trying a few things on my over-simplified list below. (Sources include:  The No Cry Sleep Solution, Happiest Toddler on the Block, Your 3 Year-Old; Friend or Enemy, Baby 411, Heading Home With Your Newborn, and dozens more books, web articles, and late night discussions on message boards over at

I’ve done my homework is what I’m saying. If you are sleepy, skip the hard work and get right to the list:


1. Magic Sleep Spray.
Lavender oil mist is a must.

2. Feed your child “sleepy foods” for dinner or right before bedtime.
These include: peanut butter, turkey, bananas, chamomile tea, warm milk, oatmeal, yogurt, and honey. More sleepy foods

3. Dim the lights and keep things calm roughly two hours before bedtime.
I used to do the opposite of this and really wear the boys out with lots of play and activities, but it backfired on me. Calm is better.

4. Get and stick to a bedtime routine. Ours is very simple: Book, bath, pajamas, milk, kisses, night-night. Do it the same way, at the same time, and in the same order every night. Having a sleep ritual is soothing for babies and adults alike.

5. Add some white noise. We actually use brown noise from the free online generator, Works like a charm to sooth little ones to sleep and to drown out unwanted background distractions coming from outside.

 6. Make sure the temperature is comfortable and that your little one is dressed accordingly. Temperatures that are too hot or cold can wake your child (or yourself) during the night. Try to plan ahead if possible.

7. Stock Up.
Our 3 year-old is a bit… high maintenance. We make sure he has his spill-proof water cup, stuffed seahorse nightlight/lullabies, three pillows, two blankets, and his posse of stuffed animals before we tuck him in. With everything right by his side, he’s less likely to call us for something in the night.

8. Get Cozy.
Make sure the pajamas are comfortable as well as the mattress and any bedding. Check for unwanted hidden scratchy tags inside clothing. If you or your child has a stuffed nose or cold, elevate the head with pillows or blankets under the crib mattress. Cozy socks are a must for our boys.

9. Go to the Dark Side.
Unless your child is afraid of the dark, make sure to eliminate unnecessary lights that might interfere with getting to a nice deep sleep. The darker the better. (Mwah ha ha!) If they are scared of the dark, then ignore my advice and get a nightlight. Our oldest has his glowing seahorse…

10. Go Pro.
If none of these tips help, it’s time to bring out the big guns. Read books, articles, and desperate pleas for help on late-night parenting message boards to see if someone else is having the same exact problem. Misery loves company, especially at 4AM and you might just find what you’re looking for. My personal savior book is The No-Cry Sleep Solution.

If you have a fool-proof sleep tip that isn’t listed here, please add it in the comments below. Night-night!