The struggle is real as a parent, especially when it comes down to bedtime. You have probably tried every hack in the book, but nothing seems to work, leaving you hopeless with energized toddlers running around the house at night.
A dad on TikTok may have unlocked the secret to getting your child ready for bedtime. Chris, also the user behind the TikTok account @the_solodad, went viral when he posted a video of a sleep hack he tried on his 5-year-old son.
This might seem counterintuitive, but this might be due to the fact that engaging in some active or physical activities before bedtime could possibly help his son get rid of any excess energy and promote better sleep.
With this, a light bulb turned on his brain when he knew his son was learning about kinetic energy in school. He then combined sleep with this kinetic energy lesson at school, and his son struggles to fall asleep into a sleep hack to share with other parents on TikTok.
In the video, Chris shows his son with a plug tied around him that is connected to his iPad. In the caption of the video, Chris indicates that he told his son that moving will charge his iPad and all we can say is that his son is moving at lightning speed to turn on his device. (2)
You might have thought the hacks you try are clever, but Chris’s seems to be the best one we have seen so far, gaining 2 million likes and over 18 million views.
The users were in shock by how much energy Chris’s son has before bedtime with comments including, “You’re accidentally creating an aerobic athlete,” and “Bro is about to power a whole city.”
Considering taking on this fun and imaginative hack for your child? Maybe experts agree with Chris’s hack, or there might be better solutions out there that can help in the long run for those busy parents trying to get their child to bed at a decent time.
Is This Hack Worth a Try?
The list of hacks for getting your kids to sleep at a decent time can go on forever, but Debbie Gerken, a registered NICU nurse and certified pediatric sleep coach, broke down for us why children get energetic at the most inconvenient time, aka bedtime. (3)
She said that when a child is already tired and then becomes too tired, their cortisol levels rise. With this, the sleepy hormone, melatonin, begins to decrease.
“This can be confusing to parents as it appears like their child is ‘not tired‘ when in fact, they have missed their sleep window and they are now becoming more energetic due to cortisol production response,” she told Sleepopolis. “Overtiredness can also create a scenario where a child gets a “second wind”.
With this surge of energy children get from a rush of adrenaline and hormones, Gerken said she believes this hack could be a creative way for your child to get rid of all that excess energy.
She said the hack helps with sleep in a multitude of ways, such as having your child run in place, which aids in releasing endorphins and reducing stress. Also, she said the repetitive motion of running helps with blood circulation, bringing more blood to the brain and helping a child wind down.
“The repetitive motion of running stimulates blood circulation throughout the body which allows for muscles and brain to receive oxygen and nutrients,” she said. “This oxygenation in the brain improves concentration, memory, and the ability to wind down for sleep.”
She even said the repetitive motion of the activity in the hack can impact a child’s sensory system creating a calming effect.
With everything, there are downsides and Gerken told us some to consider. It is no surprise that there might be some negatives to this hack since it includes some unnecessary screen time before bed.
“However, being that this child is having ‘screen time,’ the light from the television can also inhibit the production of melatonin that starts prior to bedtime,” she said. “This can negatively impact some children as sleep varies child to child.”
She even suggested a better way for this hack which includes not having an activity like this just before bed but also incorporating it throughout the day so energy can be used leading up to the time before bed.
“My advice to parents thinking about using this idea would be to make sure that it works well with your child’s temperament, need for sensory input, and ability to transition between activities when determining how close to bedtime you would like your child to do this activity,” she said.
Along with this hack, she even gave her own suggestions for parents. She said consistency is key because if bedtime looks different every night, a child will not know what to expect, which will not make their brain relaxed and ready for bed.
Also, she suggested a hack known as the 1:1 focused time method for children and their parents. This includes a child choosing what they want to play with before bedtime and a parent giving their full attention without any distractions or screens, which calms the child’s mind before bed.
She even mentioned the “bridge the connection” method, which includes a conversation between a child and a parent about what they will do the next time they see each other after going to bed. She said parents could ask questions about what types of pancakes they want to make in the morning and this allows the child to focus on what is yet to come instead of feeling separated from their parents for bedtime.
Every child has different needs and wants for bedtime, but it’s important to try different hacks and stay consistent so your child can view bedtime as a comforting time of the day without any stress or anxiety.
1. Beresford J. Dad shares parenting hack for getting son tired before bed: “Amazing idea.” Newsweek. November 20, 2024. Accessed November 22, 2024. https://www.newsweek.com/dad-parenting-hack-getting-son-tired-before-bed-1845223.
2. Chris: The_solodad on Tiktok. TikTok. November 18, 2024. Accessed November 22, 2024. https://www.tiktok.com/@the_solodad/video/7302234494759718174?_r=1&_t=8hY9xWEYx94.
3. About me: Sleep like a baby consulting: United States. Gentle Baby Sleep Coach | Sleep Like a Baby Consulting | United States. Accessed November 22, 2024. https://www.sleeplikeababyconsulting.com/about-me.
Gerken, Debbie. Personal Interview. November 21, 2024.