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Kid is 4 year old. I want her to feel sleepy before bedtime so that it becomes easy for us to put her to bed. Problem is if I do not engage her in some non-stimulating activity, she keeps on jumping and running around.

Yes, I know about story reading.
She is full of energy all the time. What are the non stimulating games that can be played before bedtime?

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Here are the things we do:

  1. Meaningful work like dishes, cleaning, preparation for next day.

  2. Games that demands thinking like puzzles.

  3. Games that demands creativity like drawing, kinetic sand.

While doing these activities you can also talk about your day. Activities can be done while sitting or standing near a table.

Also, I like to lower the lights of the house to indicate it's more quiet time.

  • How do you do dishes in low light? – user27143 May 7 '17 at 1:03
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    @user27143 He hasn't said that we have to clean dishes in low light. – Aquarius_Girl May 8 '17 at 9:28
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    I don't want to duplicate your answer, but I think I'd like to note that my parents tought me chess at that age for exactly this reason :) – Weckar E. May 8 '17 at 23:48
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Other than reading, these ideas might help. If you Google calming games for young children You'll find many ideas -- like these. Here is how to make your own sensory bottles

  • Calming scents like lavender, can be used in rice or water or play dough. Playing quietly with these materials can be calming. Pouring from one container to another calms many young children. (This supposes that your child has no allergies to scents -- all these ideas work without scent.)

  • Add scents to a bath -- lavender, camomile. Sing or listen to quiet music while in the bath.

  • Meditation. Even very young children can learn to meditate. (Breathe in for a comfortable count -- 5 to 10 counts depending on the speed she counts. Hold for another set of comfortable time. This may increase over time -- length is not the issue. Let out breath as slowly as possible, but again a comfortable count. The trick is to whisper or count to herself. 1,2,3,4,5,6/1,2,3,4,5/1,2,3,4... Repeat.)

  • Low lighting, darken the area until it is time to sleep.

  • Whisper/quiet voice time. A half hour (or more if you can manage it) everyone speaks in library voices. She could have a quiet (scented) bath with the lights down low. Candles are magic for this and you are supervising, so it is a safe thing to do.

  • Talk quietly about the good things that happened during the day. List the people she loves/likes and who love/like her. If you and your child say prayers, this is the same sort of idea. Library tones, quiet and happy talk. A little quiet gratitude never hurt anyone and it reaffirms that she is safe and loved and that 'all is well'.

I highly recommend that TV , computers and phones/tabs are turned off at least an hour before bedtime. Effects of blue light on sleep. (It's not 'good'.)

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In no particular order:

  1. Kids yoga (depends largely on the child)
  2. Getting ready for the next day
  3. Drawing
  4. Card games if they don't get too excited
  5. One of our favorite - storytelling.

Of these, storytelling seems to have the greatest calming effect, while getting ready for the next day (picking out clothes, planning breakfast, etc) seems to help more prepare for the night and accept that its bed time.

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