My grandchildren stay overnight often. Getting them to stay asleep still has some quirks we are working on, but getting them to sleep is going pretty smoothly.
The No Monster Rule
We have an unbreakable rule. No monsters are allowed in our house. We state the rule often. We enforce it. You can check under the bed. You can check in the closet. You can check in the basement. We keep our word!
We also teach the Bible verse: What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. Psalm 56:3
The Background Noise
Every child’s bedroom contains a fan. The fan operates at night. Summer, winter, spring and fall. In the cool months, we aim it away from the sleepers unless they’ve been really naughty … just kidding.
We also run a cool air vaporizer/humidifier in the winter. It makes the room a lot more conducive to sleep.
As I mentioned, we have more trouble keeping the children asleep than getting them to sleep, so late night drinks are out. I found that true thirst can be quenched if you suggest your child think of lemons, sweet tart or Sour Warhead candy or pickles. It works!
Warm Bath/Shower and Lotion
On nights I know the children didn’t get enough activity during the day, a long warm bath and generous lotion help a whole lot.
The sugar and caffeine are counter-intuitive. I use this only if I know the children are sleepy.
On the other hand, turkey, lettuce, cherry juice, and a handful of other foods cause drowsiness.
We memorize Bible verses together after tooth brushing. We also pray and sing The Lord is My Shepherd. It’s time for winding down.
Stories in Bed
I will tell a story occasionally, but the children don’t ask me to do it often because they usually can’t stay awake for all of it. It’s going to be very, very, very repetitious.
As the grandchildren leave toddlerhood, we’ll start doing the same thing we did for their parents. We’ll play the Bible at bedtime. Sometimes that kept our children awake, but that didn’t bother us at all.