Encourage creative play in your home with this Art Cart!

This post contains affiliate links which means that if you purchase something using one of the links I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

When I was a child my mom always had a ton of art supplies available to me and I think that this played a major role in my passion for creativity. I am a play therapist and I love using expressive arts with children. When I was an a counseling intern I had an internship at a place in Fort Worth TX called “The Art Station” where we used expressive arts with children in therapy. Incorporating art into your home is a great way to help your children express themselves and get creative!

I have a 2 year old and I wanted to be able to do arts and crafts with him as part of our daily routine but I needed to be able to put these crafts away when I did not want him to get into it. This art cart has been the perfect solution!

This art cart is the perfect solution to keep your kiddos entertained over the holidays and also makes a great Christmas present! I plan to use this cart with my child over the holidays and then he will get new supplies for Christmas to restock what we have used.

Click on the links below to shop my art cart!

Similar Rolling Cart

Clear Acrylic Paper Holder

Paint Bottles I like to use these paint bottles and squirt small dots of a plate and let my child use the paint. The children anti spill paint cups are a nightmare in my opinion because toddlers mix colors and it ruins the paint immediately


I like to use White Card Stock Paper because it is sturdy with the paint sticks, paint, glueing etc.

Neon Card Stock Paper

Jumbo crayons (great small toddler fingers)

Dot Markers

Similar Tin Pails for storage containers

Washable Paint

Washable Neon Paint

Colored Masking Tape

Oil Pastels

These are my favorite craft paper plates. Children can decorate them and make a ton of different crafts out of them but I also use them to put the paint on to give it to my child. I put small tiny dots of paint of different colors around the plate and let my child use that to paint with.

Coloring book

Stickers I like to have a variety of themes to help encourage language development

These are my favorite water colors for older kids

Glue Sticks


Play Dough Tools

All Natural Play Dough- by The Whole Kid and Kaboodle

The Whole Kid & Kaboodle Play Dough Kits

Sticker Foam Shapes

Similar clear stacking storage cups for small craft supplies

Sponge painting stampers

Wooden Paint Brushes

How to set up a Toddler Play Space:

(This post contains affiliate links which means that if you purchase something using one of my links I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you)

How to set up a toddler play space:

Two important pieces of my toddler play space are the Ikea Shelves and the Ikea play kitchen. Both have proven to be very sturdy so far with my rowdy 2 year old boy.

Toddler self serve snack fridge:

Two year olds are all about learning how to do things by themselves and if we can find ways to encourage their independence they will thrive! I found this mini fridge on Amazon and keep a couple of snacks inside so that my toddler can help himself to snacks whenever he wants. The idea is to set them up for success-so I do not put a ton of snacks in there that I would be mad about if he left the door open. In the photo I have tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes, and peppers. I also plan to add some cheese sticks.

Toddler Toys: wood or plastic?

I like to follow a Montessori method and they typically encourage wood over plastic toys because they are more natural and do not contain toxins etc. I prefer wood toys because I like to pick toys that are like home decor, because let me tell you YOUR CHILDREN’S TOYS DO BECOME YOUR HOME DECOR! We got some plastic construction toys for my toddlers birthday as gifts so they are out on our shelves right now but I would prefer to swap them with some beautiful wooden versions. My toddler likes these toys just fine though.

Toy Variety:

So it is best to have a variety of categories of toys: books, puzzles, creative, and then a variety of toys that with a variety of concepts….as you can see here we most have construction/transportation going on here. For Christmas I plan on updating the toys on these shelves but for now this is what we have going on.

Following your childs interests:

Right now my child is all about FIRE TRUCKS, POLICE CARS, TOOLS, CONSTRUCTION, DIGGERS, ETC. It is good to follow your child’s interests and encourage them to explore things that fascinate them.

Including natural elements:

I love the plants that are on the toy shelves. My little guy gets to help water them and he loves this. Incorporating nature is good for mental health and we are digging the plants 🙂 I like to incorporate seasonal natural items as well- this month my little guy can explore the pumpkin: color, shape, weight, texture etc.


In the middle of the plants on the top of the shelf is this aromatherapy diffuser. I like to use essential oils in our play area.

Shop the items in my play area by clicking the links below:

Melissa and Doug Farm Puzzle

Similar Construction Vehicles: Dump Truck

Melissa and Doug Wooden Vehicles

Montessori Tray with Tengu Blocks and Magnetic Tiles

Name Puzzle by Howard and Sons Designs (totally recommend shop this small business) but similar version by Fat Brain Toys Name Puzzle

Kids Dyson Vacuum

Aromatherapy Diffuser with Essential Oils: Lavender , Orange

Wooden Etched Blocks are from Crate and Barrel but I have these Grimms Blocks on Peters Christmas List

Similar Play Mat (I think ours is made by Skip Hop but I couldn’t find it on Amazon

The best trick for teaching your child deep breathing!

This post contains affiliate links which means that if you purchase something using one of my links I may receive a small commission at not additional cost to you.

Deep breathing is one of the most important skills that we can teach a child to help them learn how to regulate themselves. If your child has trouble calming down or they get stressed easily, deep breathing is a coping skill that can really help them.

They have all different sizes, colors, light up ones, and even glow in the dark. Glow in the dark ones would be super fun to use as a calming bedtime activity. You little one could lay in their bed and take deep breaths with their calming breathing ball to help them get sleepy, how cool!

DIRECTIONS: Start with the ball together. Slowly pull the ball apart as you take a deep breath in through your nose. Keep breathing in until the ball is fully extended. Then breathe out slowly through your mouth. The trick is to go very slowly. Tell your child that you want the air to fill their tummy up as big as the ball is getting.

Check out my previous post about how to teach your child about how their body and brain are like an engine and how we can learn to help our engine run smoothly. My previous post tells all about how to make an engine plate. If you have an engine plate on your refrigerator or classroom wall, you can have your dysregulated child check their engine plate and then use the breathing ball to help get their engine back in the green. After you do several repetitions they can check their engine again to see if they feel better. Ask them how their body feels. Depending on their mood you might say “Do you still feel like you could bounce off the walls, do you still feel very angry, do your fists still feel really tight or does your body feel more relaxed?”.

I would love to see how you and your little ones practice deep breathing with your spheres! Check out my instagram account thewholekidandkaboodle and post pictures of your breathing ball fun and #kaboodlebreathingballfun and tag @thewholekidandkaboodle

Check out my other posts below:

How to teach your little one to learn to regulate themselves

How to create a gross motor/sensory room in your home

How to “discipline: your one year old

Why bubble gum can help your child’s sensory needs

#1 tip for calming a fussy baby

DIY Kid Sleep Hack: Sleepy Time Clouds

The Ultimate Calming Bedtime Routine

The Best Valentines Day Activities for Toddlers!

*This blog post contains affiliate links which means if you make a purchase using one of my links I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you <3

Valentines Pom Pom Scoop:

These Extra Large Valentines Pom Poms are perfect for toddlers who still put things in their mouth because they are not a choking hazard. They are great for scooping and transfer work.

Valentines Day is a perfect time to teach your toddler all sorts of things! Some concepts you can introduce to your toddler are the heart shape, the color RED, color PINK, etc.

The sensory table below is the Ikea Kallax Sensory table and you can purchase it on Amazon here.

Valentines Duck & Pom Pom Tray

Another activity I created for my toddler is this Valentines duck and pom pom pour activity. Some activities you might try with this tray: count number of ducks, sort by color, separate ducks from pom poms, transfer from bucket to tray, what sound does a duck make? Your little one can use tongs to transfer objects to the bucket for more complicated fine motor practice. You can even add water for more sensory fun!

If you are looking for a good sensory tray, this one is very similar to the one in the picture below. These metal bucks are also similar to the ones in the photo below. These valentines rubber ducks are super cute.

Valentines Day Pom Pom Scoop

Let your little one have fun scooping, counting, and color sorting these Valentine colored pom poms. These pom poms are cute also. I have also created a therapeutic activity with this tray. Click here (coming soon but in the mean time go to my Instagram thewholekidandkaboodle for directions on how to Teach Your Child Pom Pom Soup Deep Breathing to help combat your child’s excess energy, stress, hyperactivity, and problem behaviors.

Looking for an edible sensory tray filler?

You can click on the images below to purchase these edible sensory bin fillers on amazon:

Here are some Valentines Day sensory bottles that I made:

Below I have linked some of my other favorite craft items to buy for Valentines Day crafts & sensory bottles: just click on the image to purchase from Amazon!

These pipe cleaners and pom poms are fun sensory bin fillers!

Put a piece of scotch tape on the back of these foam hearts and let your toddler stick them to the wall or the floor. They will get a kick out of this!

Put this washi tape down on the table and let your toddler peel it off…loads of entertainment and great fine motor skills practice!

These foam stickers are perfect for helping little ones with their fine motor skills practice. The doilies can be glued onto paper for fun toddler art work!

I am obsessed with these heart shaped foam confetti! These would be awesome for sensory bin filler!

This heart shaped wooden spoon would be so fun to stir a sensory bucket filled with all kinds of valentines day filler or letting your little one help out with valentines day baking!

This valentines baking mold is so cute! It would be fun to bake in but also use to separate pom poms by color or hold valentines stickers and pom poms.

These hearts would be fun inside a sensory bottle!

These bottles are perfect for sensory/discovery bottles because they have a wide mouth at the top so you can fit decent sized objects inside.

This extra fine glitter is perfect for making valentines sensory bottles.

These heart erasers would be cute inside a sensory bottle, just add rice!

These rose petals would be fun sensory bin filler.

These felt balls are awesome for scooping, sorting, and using as sensory bin filler.

This Grimms wooden heart set is on my wants list!

These wooden beads would be super cute in a sensory bottle mixed with some more colorful plastic beads.

These candy hearts are what I used in my sensory bottle that I mixed with rice. My toddler likes to shake it and hear the sound it makes.

These are some of my favorite Valentines books:

Fine Motor Skills Activity

I found the velvet rose at the dollar store and then paired with our HABA toy :

Below you can see a photo of my 16 month old’s Valentines themed play shelves:

Here are some toys similar to the ones on my Valentines shelf that would be super fun:

Check out some of my other posts:

The easiest way to host the most perfect Gingerbread house decorating party..

How to “discipline” your one year old…

The BEST brownies with this secret ingredient…

Why Bubble Gum Can Help Your Child’s Sensory Needs!

#1 Tip for Calming a Fussy Baby

DIY Kid Sleep Hack: Sleepy Time Clouds

The Ultimate Calming Bedtime Routine

Why I choose to exclusively bottle feed my baby and how I feel about it 7 months later…

15 Must Have Baby Items!

A Gentle Approach to Sleep Training

How to create a christmas themed play space for toddlers

xmasplayspace*This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using my links.

Wondering how you can decorate your house for Christmas with a toddler in the house? Creating a fun Christmas play space for your child is a great way to bring Christmas cheer into your home without having to worry about your child getting into the decorations and breaking something. The plastic snow globes and the wooden christmas themed houses in the photo above were found in the dollar section at Target. Below are links to some awesome items on Amazon that would be great additions to a toddler Christmas themed play space.

Below is a picture of my toddler christmas themed book shelf:

Click on the images below to purchase these festive Christmas toys on Amazon!

Check out some of my other posts:

The easiest way to host the most perfect Gingerbread house decorating party..

How to “discipline” your one year old…

The BEST brownies with this secret ingredient…

Why Bubble Gum Can Help Your Child’s Sensory Needs!

#1 Tip for Calming a Fussy Baby

DIY Kid Sleep Hack: Sleepy Time Clouds

The Ultimate Calming Bedtime Routine

Why I choose to exclusively bottle feed my baby and how I feel about it 7 months later…

15 Must Have Baby Items!

A Gentle Approach to Sleep Training


I would love to hear from you!

How to “discipline” your one year old…

How to “discipline” your one year old…


What age you should start “disciplining” your child?

I was inspired to write this post because of reading Whitney Ports insta post where she was asking questions like “when should kids be taught the difference between right and wrong, safe and unsafe, good and bad, nice and mean. She mentions not wanting to be one of those no no no no parents but also doesn’t want her child to have no boundaries. Her question is such a great one and is something that I am currently going through with my almost 1 year old. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor and Registered Play Therapist and am still navigating mom life day by day. This post explains how I have used my knowledge in the field of child development when working with my 1 year old.

Baby Discipline: 1 year old

The first step is to exchange the word “discipline” for the word “teach”. It is a parents job to “teach” their baby about the world even before age 1. All the ways you interact with your child teach your child about their world. Starting at birth we want to teach our children that the world is a safe place, their needs will be met, and that there is an adult who is bigger/stronger/wiser who will take care of them and keep them safe. So even though I am suggesting you get rid of the word “discipline” from your parenting vocabulary, your children still will learn boundaries that you teach and set for them.

How to teach your 1 year old “to mind”:

This is kind of an old timey phrase that my parents generation used “teach that kid to mind” type of mentality. The fact is that if we set up a child’s environment in a way that will lead to their success, the focus shifts from teaching them to mind to teaching them how to thrive.

Setting your child’s environment up for success:

It is important to try to create an environment for your child where they can be as successful as possible. I have done my best to child proof my house so that my little one can be free to explore most things. When the house is child proofed I do not have to spend as much time and stress telling my child “no” every 5 seconds because they are getting into things. I have become way less stressed and my child is happier. At this age children are so curious about everything and by child proofing as best as possible, I can let my child explore and he loves this. He hates being in a play pen. I have a play pen and I use it when I have to but I try let him be free to explore most of the time. Another thing I try to do is give my child ample time of outdoor activities. Taking a walk, splashing in the pool, swinging on the park swings, going to feed the ducks. During most of these activities I realize that I hardly ever have to tell my child no because they are having so much fun. I think that when children get bored they tend to “get into stuff” a lot more. If the weather isn’t good or swimming isn’t an option I will let my little guy splash in the sink in his bath chair or in the tub. This is a great way for him to expel energy. Babies who get their energy out and have ample time for play and exercise exhibit less acting out behaviors. I try to almost never tell my child no (I am constantly working on this even though saying no is sometimes my first instinct). I think you want to provide so many “yes” experiences by creating a proper environment described above that you only have to say no on rare and serious occasions.

Is it ever okay to use the word “no” when disciplining your child?

The fact is, if you constantly say “no” to your child you will begin to sound like a broken record and they will completely disregard what you are saying. Children will take attention any way they can get it and if they realize that doing things they are not suppose to do causes you to come over to them and say no and make a big fuss, they will continue to do the things just to push your buttons and get a reaction out of you.

One exception that I use the word “no” for is physical harm and danger. But even in these types of situation you can often correct the behavior without actually saying the word “no”. Say your child is pulling your hair. You can say “no hurting mommy” or “be gentle” or “mommy’s hair is not for pulling”. If my child kept pulling my hair I would say “no hurting mommy” and put my child down or move myself out of harms away. I would then try to engage my child in a new activity “look, lets play over here with your toy car”. Redirecting your child to a more acceptable activity is a great way to change their behavior in a positive way.

Using empathy when you set limits with you child:

This is one of the most helpful concepts in working with children of all ages. Say your one year old is about to reach their hand in the toilet because they think it is fun to splash in there you can say ” I know you think that is really fun but our toilet is not for splashing in” and pick them up and move them to a safe location. Toilet locks come in handy as well so you can prevent the whole situation or keeping the bathroom door shut but sometimes your little ones discover new things and you have to respond in the moment. Another example of using empathy when setting limits or boundaries with your child: say your child is banging a toy on your glass coffee table you might say “I know you are really having fun making music with that but our table is not for breaking” and hand them a soft toy that they can hit on the table that will not break the table (or just get rid of the glass table…because is it really worth it?)

Discipline approaches that you should never use:

One approach that I think is absolutely NOT a good approach would be to try to disiciple a 1 year old with using a fear method, such as spanking them for getting into things they aren’t suppose to or for not listening. Child Development theorists Erik Erikson would say that during 0-18 months a baby is learning to either trust or mistrust their caregivers and the outcome of this can either be a healthy trajectory for your child or a negative one. Attachment theory explains that when a parent consistently meets a child’s needs in a loving way the child learns that their parent is a “secure base” (a safe person to turn to in times of fear) to seek comfort and reassurance. By using fear as a means to “control” your 1 year old, you are teaching them that they cannot always trust you and that sometimes you are frightening (which is extremely damaging to children emotionally).

Increasing positive interactions with your child will decrease the need for “discipline”:

If you are stressing out about how to discipline your child, I urge you to change your focus on increasing positive interactions with your child. Instead of following your one year old around waiting for them to “get into something” create a situation in which you can play with them. Carry them to a safe play space and say to them “lets play”. Put your phone and other distractions away and be present with your child more often throughout the day. I have found that when I am fully available to my child not only physically there with them but mentally and emotionally present to play with him, he his less interested in “getting into things” and more interested in playing with me.

Final thoughts:

Remember your goal is to be your child’s teacher. If they are doing something they are not suppose to do, teach them what they can do. Remember to limit the amount of words you use when you are trying to get your point across to your child. One rule of thumb is use 1 word for every year old that they are. For example, if my 1 year old tries to eat a leaf off the ground I will take it out of his mouth and say one word “yucky”. I try to use some of the same very simple phrases over and over with my child to help it sink in such as: “not safe” and “be gentle”. Be aware of the positive to negative ratio of comments you make to your child in a day. You want most of your interaction with your child to be positive. If you find yourself constantly correcting your child, find ways to comment on the positive things they are doing.

Check out some of my other posts:

A Gentle Approach to Sleep Training: https://thewholekidandkaboodle.com/sleeptraining/

The Ultimate Calming Bedtime Routine: https://thewholekidandkaboodle.com/the-ultimate-calming-bedtime-routine/

#1 Tip for Calming a Fussy Baby: https://thewholekidandkaboodle.com/1-tip-calming-fussy-baby/

Check out this DIY kid sleep hack :https://thewholekidandkaboodle.com/diykidsleephack/

Why Bubble Gum Can Help Your Child’s Sensory Needs: https://thewholekidandkaboodle.com/bubblegum/

I am always looking for new parenting questions and topics that people have to write about, I would love to hear from you!

The BEST brownies with this secret ingredient…

bestbrownies, fourth of july recipe

The trick to the best brownie recipe ever is using:

*Hershey Symphony Bars*

Honestly these are the most delicious brownies ever. After learning this brownie hack I will never go back to making brownies without using symphony bars. 


1 pack of brownie mix 

4 Hershey Symphony Bars

1 pack of Brownie baking cups, you can use standard ones like these, or cute ones like in the picture above, I got mine at Tuesday Morning.

Vanilla Ice cream or vanilla frosting 

Handful of Blueberries and Strawberries for decoration


Make brownies according to the box directions. Pour brownie mix into baking cups. During the last 10 minutes of baking, top brownies with squares of Hershey Symphony Bars. After brownies are done baking, let sit until warm. Top with scoop of ice cream and garnish with blueberries and strawberries. If using icing instead of ice cream, let brownies cool completely before topping with icing. Icing brownies can be made ahead of time and served later. Ice cream brownies need to be served immediately.

Alternative Recipe:

Cook in a standard baking dish. Pour half the brownie batter in the pan. Layer Hershey Symphony bars on top and then pour the rest of the brownie batter on top, then bake. These are the absolute most delicious brownies!

I love to serve these delicious brownies on my favorite MacKenzie-Childs tray as seen in the picture above!


Why Bubble Gum Can Help Your Child’s Sensory Needs!

sensory, sensory integration, proprioception, self regulation*This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using my links.

Did you know that aside from the commonly known senses like smell, touch, taste, see, and hear we also have some other senses that really effect our daily life? One of these other senses is called proprioception. When a child gets firm, gentle muscle pressure, the proprioception sense is at work! Proprioceptive input can be calming and organizing for children’s brains (and adults too!).

Chewing bubble gum is a way to engage the proprioceptive system and this can be a major trick for helping children to regulate themselves (or calm themselves down when they are dysregulated aka hyper/overexcited/stressed etc.)

I learned about this bubble gum trick from the bubble gum queen herself, Dr. Karyn Purvis  when I was a camp buddy for kids at The TCU Hope Connection Camp, a therapeutic day camp for internationally adopted children. Dr. Purvis was an expert in helping children from hard places and children who had experienced trauma. Dr. Purvis would greet new children at camp with a friendly smile and a playful tone of voice and introduce herself as The Bubble Gum Queen! Dr. Purvis knew that play reduces fear and many of the children who came to the camp were fearful of new situations and new people due to frightening people and places in their past. Dr. Purvis also knew that when children chew bubble gum it engages their proprioceptive sense and helps the children’s brains calm and organize. In fact, Dr. Purvis would let children get multiple pieces of bubble gum because the bigger the chew the more calming the effect was due to the firm muscle pressure.

Dr. Purvis also used bubble gum as a way to help children learn to use their words and give good eye contact. For a child who acts out to get their needs met instead of using their words, learning to communicate their needs with words is life changing for the child and the parent. Dr. Purvis would gladly give a child bubble gum if they “used good words and gave good eyes”. Dr. Purvis always praised good words and good eyes by saying things like “oh I just love good words and those sweet eyes”. She would give the child choices by playfully saying “do you think you need one piece of gum or two pieces” to help you calm down? Karyn Purvis truly was a child whisperer! She and Dr. David Cross’s (who is also amazing!) book “The Connected Child” is a must read for anyone who cares for children.

So…if you are a teacher, you may want to consider letting your students chew a double bubble during testing time to help with testing anxiety. This can also help hyper children or children with ADHD be able to calm and regulate themselves during long periods of sitting and focusing. If you get the kind of bubble gum with different flavors see which types of flavors the children prefer. It turns out that sweet flavors are calming and sour flavors are alerting. A child who likes sour flavors may do well with the sour gum because it will keep them awake and alert during their test taking. Just provide them with a tissue at their desk so that if they need to spit it out they don’t have to get up to throw it away and disrupt the class. Also make sure they know that bubble blowing is not allowed…until after the test of course 🙂

If you are a parent or caretaker…you may want to purchase a big tub of double bubble and keep a baggie of gum in your purse for times when you need your children to regulate and  calm themselves. For kids who are old enough not to choke (please don’t give bubble gum to kids who will choke) you might want to give your child bubble gum in the car to help them calm down. Make it fun- your children can have contests of who can blow the biggest bubble, what a fun car ride activity! (give them a tissue incase they need to spit it out during the ride) Need to go on a long shopping spree and need your children to behave? BUBBLE GUM might be your best friend! Obviously kids need good nutrition and should eat healthy snacks on the regular but bubble gum can be a secret weapon for you when you need to help your child regulate! Teaching them how to dispose of their gum properly is also important but be playful about it (lets see who can spit their gum the best into the trashcan!) Having your kids brush their teeth frequently is also a must. Although there are many sugar haters out there…it turns out there may be more benefits than cons to the MAGIC bubble gum trick!



DIY Kid Sleep Hack: Sleepy Time Clouds

DIY Kid Sleep Hack: Sleepy Time Clouds

bedtime sleep hack for kids, kids sleep, essential oils for sleep

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using my links.

This is my DIY Kid Sleep Hack: Sleepy Time Clouds Recipe

Do your kids have trouble falling asleep at night? Is bedtime a struggle? Is your child having trouble winding down at night?

I created this “Sleepy Time Cloud” Recipe when I was working as a children’s counselor at a residential treatment facility for women who were addicted to drugs and alcohol (the mom’s & children lived at the facility). Many of the children (and moms) had trouble calming down before they went to sleep. I was desperate to find something that could help them relax before bedtime. As a play therapist, I knew I wanted to come up with something that would be playful and fun yet relaxing at the same time.

Ingredients for essential oils for sleep and anxiety recipe:

  1. Cotton Balls
  2. Lavender Essential Oil
  3. Small Container

How to use lavender oil for sleep:

Lavender essential oil is a great natural remedy to help children & adults calm down before bedtime. Even though essential oils can be a bit pricey, they are the best way to consume the lavender smell (other products like cheap lavender candles contain chemicals that can produce negative effects such as headaches and agitation). A little goes a long way with the essential oils, you only need a couple drops.


You want to make this recipe for the first time when your child is calm. Do this in the daytime or early evening when you have time to practice how to use the sleepy time clouds that way when bedtime comes around they will be pros!

Step 1:Get the ingredients all together listed above.

Step 2:Tell your child that you have a fun recipe called Sleepy Time Clouds that they get to make that will help them relax before bedtime.

Step 3: Let your child put a few (2 or 3) cotton balls in the small container. Give them choices to help them feel empowered, “Do you think we should put 2 or 3 cotton balls in here?”.

Step 4: Put 1 drop of lavender oil on the cotton balls (it comes out fast). If they are old enough, show your child how fast it comes out and tell them that they can put 1 or 2 more drops but they have to do it very slowly. (you don’t want the lavender smell to be too overpowering). The good news is-if they mess up and put a ton on, you can try it again with new cotton balls or disperse those cotton balls amongst other containers so the scent won’t be too  strong. [The goal is for this to be a playful and bonding activity not a power struggle session, let them have fun with it].

Step 5: You and your child will practice DEEP BREATHING using the sleepy time clouds. SMELL THE CLOUDS IN THROUGH YOUR NOSE AND BREATH OUT SLOWLY THROUGH YOUR MOUTH. Explain to them in a playful tone of voice that you don’t want to breathe out too fast because you don’t want the clouds to blow away, but you do want to blow a little wind on them. Repeat 5 times. Check in with your child to see if they notice if they feel more relaxed or not. Also ask them if the scent smells good to them or if it is too strong. If it is too strong they can use less oil on the next batch.

*Encourage your child to try this activity but if they do not like it or the smell bothers them then DO NOT make them do this. This is only suppose to be a helpful and fun activity not a forced activity or punishment for previous bad bedtime behavior.

Step 6: Let your child try this out at bedtime. Help remind them how to take proper deep breaths (breathe deep in through your nose and breathe out SLOWLY through your mouth) & repeat until your child feels calm & sleepy or they don’t want to do it anymore (it is their choice).

Other Options:

I hope you and your children have fun with this playful and peaceful bedtime activity!

If you have an infant and are looking for an infant bedtime routine see my other post The Ultimate Calming Bedtime Routine and A Gentle Approach to Sleep Training

The Ultimate Calming Bedtime Routine

The Ultimate Calming Bedtime Routine

calming bedtime routine for infants, baby sleep, infant sleep, bedtime routines

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using my links.

This is the ultimate guide for creating a bedtime routine for infants.

The definition of a routine is a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program.

Research supported idea: Babies need consistent and predictable environments to help them feel safe.

You want your baby’s bedtime routine to be CONSISTENT and PREDICTABLE.

Here is an example of an infant bedtime routine that I am currently using with my 7 month old baby.

The bedtime routine is going to be affected by the rest of the baby’s day, so hopefully you have a daytime schedule for your baby as well. You want to make sure that your baby has enough to eat during the day and that they took the amount of naps that they need during the day so that they can sleep their best at night. An overtired baby will be fussier and take longer to get down to sleep at night.

If your baby is on solid foods, be aware of the types of foods that you feed your baby late in the day. Certain types of foods may upset your babies tummy at night or make them poop.

6:00 begin bedtime routine: Pick a time that works for you to begin your bedtime routine each night. Ideally, 2 hours before you want your baby to actually be asleep. For me, this was 6:00. Beginning at 6:00 you want to be aware of the types of stimulus that your baby is getting from the environment. At this time you want to turn off all of the televisions and dim the lights in the house. Be aware of your voice tone and try to have a calming tone of voice rather than a playful one with your baby.

6:30 bath: Be aware of the lighting in the bathroom, you want it to be bright enough to see but dim. You want to set the mood for your babies bedtime. A nice way to do this is to put some lavender essential oil in a diffuser in the room where you are giving your bath. Sometimes you may not feel like giving your baby a bath but if you can make yourself do it you will thank yourself later. The key to getting yourself to actually give your baby a bath is to have a bathtub set up that makes it easy on you. If you are struggling leaning over the bathtub trying to make sure your baby is not slipping and sliding you are not going to be able to stick with the every night bath routine. Here are some bathtubs that I recommend for different ages/home set ups:

0-3 months baby in a small bathroom sink: you could use this tub

0-3 months baby in a half farmhouse sink: you could use this tub

0-3 months in a farmhouse size sink: this tub

When babies can start to sit up with a little help these tub seats are game changers and make life a lot easier

These kneeler pads can also save you serious pain from kneeling at the bath tub

Taking a bath with your baby on occasion is a nice bonding and relaxing activity for both mom and baby but obviously not something you want to do every night. If you have had a long day with your baby and you are feeling stressed but still have a while before you put your child to bed, put your baby in the bathtub with you and let them splash and play around, it is a win win for everyone! When getting out of the bath with your baby, I suggest you place a towel on a bouncing chair and then place the baby on the bouncing chair while you dry off.

7:00 lotion massage: turn calming bedtime music  (this CD is my favorite) on and put lotion (this is my favorite) on baby. Infant Massage is very good for babies brains. This video shows you how to do infant massage to help your baby calm and help their brain grow.

7:10 bottle then snuggles & rocking with music, then bed (sometimes my baby is asleep by 7:30 and sometimes it takes him a little long until 8)

*Remember: Try to keep as many things the same as you can (the same music, the same room, the same bed, the same time etc)

*Since my baby was born I have played the same song each night at bedtime (I just recently introduced the calming CD I listed above). No matter where I am, if I play this song I swear my baby starts to yawn. He knows that this song means bedtime. I use this song and now the CD as well for putting my baby down for naps during the day. Creating strong sleep associations in the brain is the KEY!

I hope you and your baby enjoy trying this calming bedtime routine! 🙂