Words – and routines – have power. Here’s another way to look at it:

healthy daytime routinesthe 1-day
Get the picture…er…the meme?

Sleepytime Club’s Bedtime Blueprint is a handy planning tool for organizing your day in a balanced way. You can get it on the home page or below.

It turns out that with our “mind-body”, everything is a signal that can generate health …or imbalance.

Sleepytime Club is organizing its first Back to School Bedtime Summit. And I am thrilled at the range and expertise of the speakers willing to offer their time for this event.

We all get off the program year schedule – and delightfully so! – when the summer comes. Camps, picnics, evening concerts and movies, fireworks…it’s a choice families make about bedtime, family time, and memories.

But school-year time is non-negotiable for most families. September arrives and so do the inevitable schedule adjustments.

One of the speakers is Amy Robbins Wilson of Mommy Jingles and Lullaby Links.

Amy is a lullaby expert – among many other fields of expertise. We spoke for a long time about the power of music on cognition, confidence, creativity, language…and that music is simply a great joy to have in one’s life.

When you hear Amy’s interview, I promise you will be excited about simple steps to integrate music and lullaby into your family life. Her knowledge and voice are breathtaking.

One quick point: The power of the cue song.

Now I personally know the power of the cue song from the days when I had my first official job in a nursery school. The older and wiser teacher used “Put Your Finger in the Air” as her cue song and I adapted it and swear by it.

If the energy in the classroom was getting a bit wonky, we would sing “Put your finger in the air, in the air…” The classroom would stop still. Every single child would stop what he or she was doing – even the ones about to bean each other with blocks – put their fingers in the air and sing along.

The secret power of a cue song is give the kids something to do – actually do.

I later adapted it and sang “Sit on the rug”, “Give yourself a hug” and the favorite “Make the sound of a little bug”. The kids were calm and smiling and it’s so much easier on the teacher to redirect children pretending to be little bugs instead Neanderthal hunters.

Cue songs work.

According to Amy, you can start a bedtime cue song three months before birth. If your child is a toddler or older, give it two weeks and it will become a private mantra for a lifetime. A cue to fall asleep. The sleep cue song doesn’t have to be long or complicated. It can be a quiet chant or have a simple melody.

To give the child something to do – the words could be “close your eyes, lay your head, breathe in sleep”. Or you could choose a lullaby from your own childhood.

No Gold Stars

Amy also described her years as a stay-at-home mom when her son really needed support. She commented “I wish someone could see what we do and all that happens in a day. It’s magical…but there are no gold stars.”

That’s why Sleepytime Club offers as a free download My Time,  a guided meditation for caregivers. My Time gives you a 15 minute break and affirms the good work you’re doing.

…and during the Back-to-School Bedtime Summit, you’ll hear the story of how a simple cue song saved Amy Robbins-Wilson’s son’s life!

Besides songs, what are your bedtime/sleep cues? A lavender pillow? Special jammies? (They’re ok for grownups too.) Reversing the morning routine?