I believe children need to be soothed, quieted, comforted and calmed. They do not learn this inherently. They have to be taught.
If they are never taught, why would one expect them to know how?
At bedtime, for example, it’s a great idea to have the bath, warm jammies and then a story or two, or more. They will become tired settling and listening. That also has to be taught. If a child is never calmed but rather allowed to run constantly all day and evening why would one expect them to be able to settle down for sleep? It doesn’t have to be reading every night. Perhaps a family puzzle time or art, drawing or coloring, but calm. No getting up and running around during quiet time…just slow, calm time before bed. Playing soothing music might also help.
Even at my age I can not work on the computer on something I’m passionate about (writing this blog) and then settle right down to be ready to sleep. Nor can I do a workout in the evening because I will become too wound up. What do most adults do to get sleepy if we aren’t when we go to bed? We read!
For my kids it was Sunday church. That was the hour that we were determined to teach our kids to sit quietly. There was a nursery available. We chose not to use it. We wanted them to learn to sit in church. It didn’t come easily. Like anything worth while it takes time and energy and practice. I had to bring things for them to do in the back of the church for a while and cheerios for them to eat. But eventually they learn to be quiet and sit still for that small window of time.
We also had a very regular bedtime routine that the kids knew and could count on, every night. It was the same. A bath, brush teeth and jammies then read or as they got older perhaps watch a movie, but still, no running or playing.
I think we are moving away from that quiet dinner hour. Yes, life is busy. Yes, it’s hard to figure out how but if you can make an effort to sit quietly and converse at an evening meal most nights, it will eventually pay off big dividends. For example you can go to a friends home and also have a quiet calm meal if that is your routine at home anyway.
NOTHING COMES EASILY! One cannot run a marathon with no training or shouldn’t anyway. But I PROMISE if you put in the time and energy when they are young and developing it will pay off for YOU as well as THEM in the future.