DIY Kid Sleep Hack: Sleepy Time Clouds

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

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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

2 thoughts on “DIY Kid Sleep Hack: Sleepy Time Clouds

  1. I love this! My 5 year old twin boys get soooooo wound up right before bedtime! Such good advice to first introduce the sleepy clouds during a time when they are calm. We will be making sleepy clouds tomorrow!!!

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