Putting kids to bed can be quite the struggle. Sometimes, no matter how many lullabies you sing or how long you rhythmically tap your little one’s bum, nothing seems to work. So, if all else fails, why not try enlisting the help of a few apps? We know you probably have a “no screens before bed” policy, but maybe you can make one or two of these the exceptions.
1. Nighty Night
Visually stunning, Nighty Night was developed by Oscar-nominated animator Heidi Wittlinger. The concept is simple. In each of the rooms of a house is an animal trying to go to sleep. It’s your child’s job to go through the rooms, and turn off the lights. And, every time your kid plays the app, the animals do something different so there’s always something to look forward to at bedtime.
What users are saying: “Myself and my 3-year-old love this night time app. We have a giggle at the animals and the silly thing they do when you 'tickle' them. Part of our night time routine now.” -- Karen, who gave the app 5 stars on the Google Play Store
“A great app for the little ones to wind down and get ready to fall asleep. Very simple. My 2-year-old was able to figure it out instantly and loved it.” -- Heather, who gave the app 5 stars on the Google Play Store
Available for free: iOS, Android 2. Goodnight Safari
After putting the barnyard animals to bed, it’s over to the safari animals to help them with their bedtime routines. Like Nighty Night, Goodnight Safari’s animation is a work of art. Children will be instantly pulled into the interactive story where they help lions, giraffes and zebras eat dinner, take a bath, go to bed and give a goodnight kiss. The soothing background sound of the African savannah adds to the app’s calming effect, too.
What reviewers are saying: “The rich, lush illustrations burst with color, and the fuzzy, socklike texture of many animals adds to their appeal. Each page offers just enough interaction to hold the interest of rambunctious little ones, but not so much that they become overstimulated.” -- Kirkus Reviews
If your baby has to hear you shushing him to fall asleep, then Baby Shusher is for you. It does the shushing for you, and it automatically raises the volume when it hears your baby fussing or starting to cry. It’s like white noise (which Andi Manzano says has helped her daughter Olivia fall asleep), but specifically for babies. You can also record yourself shushing and the app can play that instead.
What users are saying: “When our 10-week-old baby is worked up and crying it calms her down, and when she is on the edge of sleep it can make the difference and settle her.” -- Philip, who gave the app 5 stars on the Google Play Store Available for $4.99: iOS, Android
Some babies prefer lullabies to being shushed. SleepHero lets you record your own lullabies, bedtime stories and sounds. It then plays the recordings on a loop for as long as you want it to. If your baby cries in the night, the app’s autopilot monitor kicks in and automatically plays calming sounds to settle your little one back to sleep. It comes with a white noise audio library, too, and, if you have a smartphone projector, the app can play a soothing, looped video on your baby’s ceiling.
What users are saying: “This app is the only reason I am getting any sleep right now! I recorded myself singing a 2-minute song and it plays on a loop for 40 minutes. I use it every night and naptime!” -- iOS user, who gave the app 5 stars on iTunes
Available for $1.99: iOS
It’s hard to fall asleep when your mind is all over the place. Headspace for Kids will help your child’s mind come to rest. Adults have been singing Headspace praises for quite some time now, but it’s last July 2016 that they released sessions specifically for kids.
The meditation sessions, found within the Headspace app, have five themes: calm, focus, kindness, sleep and wake up. Each is further broken down into age groups; from toddlers to teenagers. All are determined to calm down your ball of energy. You're welcome to join too. Ready to “omm” your way to sleep?
What users are saying: “A really practical and accessible way of getting the benefits of mindfulness.” -- George, who gave the app 5 stars on the Google Play Store