Sleep: Relaxation Rocket Ship

Okay, so it's been a really great evening. Your extended family, complete with your child's three favorite cousins, has just left and everyone had a good time. Now it's an hour and a half past bedtime and what you need more than anything is just to get your little one to sleep. Looking across the living room, the challenge of unwinding this over-tired little angel, who is currently doing somersaults on the couch, may seem impossible. A journey on the Relaxation Rocket Ship may help.

Presented as a game, in which your child gets your undivided attention, it's usually not too difficult to get even the most reluctant child to sleep. It also offers the advantage of teaching skills that can be used for a lifetime.

The game begins by your child getting "suited up" (pajamas) for their trip to outer space. They then begin the preparations for being launched into space (which probably includes brushing teeth and whatever else is a necessary part of your child's minimum bedtime routine). Once in bed, you turn off the lights and play Rocket Ship. Your child gets to be the astronaut and you will be NASA or "command central." (What you want to keep in mind is that for the first minute or so, you want this to seem exciting. As you progress through the relaxation, you should gradually make it a slow, quiet process.)

Holding a pretend microphone the dialogue goes something like this:

"Good Evening Astronaut Alice. This is command central. I trust that you are ready to make this flight. We will of course be with you throughout your journey and will be monitoring your progress on our computers. Are you excited about being the first Astronaut to actually visit every planet in our solar system?"

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