Sensory play and sleep might seem like separate parts of a child’s daily routine. However, Jessica Bryant, a Sleep Strategist at Sleep Happy, explains that there is a significant connection between these two elements. Understanding how sensory play influences sleep can help parents create a more harmonious and effective routine for their children.

What is Sensory Play, and Why is it Important for Children?

Sensory play involves any activity that engages a child’s senses of touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing, helping them to develop cognitive and motor skills. Jessica highlights that sensory activities are crucial because they help children process and respond to their environment, which is essential for their overall development.

How Does Sensory Play Impact Sleep?

The link between sensory play and sleep is rooted in how these activities help children regulate their emotions and energy levels. Engaging in calming sensory activities such as playing with soft clay, feeling different textures, or listening to soothing sounds can significantly reduce bedtime anxiety and promote a smoother transition to sleep.

What Types of Sensory Activities Help Promote Better Sleep?

Jessica recommends activities that involve calming sensory input. For example, using items like weighted blankets, soft music, or dim lights during play can create a relaxing environment that naturally leads to drowsiness. Activities that reduce sensory overload before bedtime are particularly effective.

Can Sensory Play Replace Traditional Bedtime Routines?

While sensory play should not completely replace traditional bedtime routines like reading or bathing, it can be a valuable addition. Integrating sensory play into the bedtime routine can help children unwind and decompress from the day, making traditional routines even more effective.

Tips for Incorporating Sensory Play into Evening Routines

To incorporate sensory play effectively, Jessica advises choosing activities that are naturally calming and avoiding overstimulation. This might include:

  • Creating a quiet corner with pillows and blankets for reading or soft play.
  • Introducing gentle tactile toys that can be used in quiet play.
  • Using sensory bins filled with materials like rice or pasta for calm exploration.

Monitoring the Impact of Sensory Play on Sleep

Observing how your child responds to different sensory activities can guide you in crafting the most effective bedtime routine. Jessica suggests noting changes in how quickly your child falls asleep and their overall sleep quality to adjust activities accordingly.

Understanding the profound impact of sensory play on sleep opens new avenues for parents to enhance their children’s bedtime experiences. By thoughtfully incorporating these activities, you can help your child achieve restful sleep, essential for their health and growth.

Got Questions? 

Got questions? Ready to make a change in your child’s sleep? Reach out to Jessica Bryant at Sleep Happy to learn how you can revolutionize the way your child sleeps in just three nights.