Herbs That Help Children Get to Sleep Naturally

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One of the main challenges I face as the mom of four young kids is bedtime. Each night our kids brush their teeth, get in their jammies, then get in bed for a story. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to happen.

How To Get Kids To Sleep

You see, they’ve always shared rooms and there’s something about sleeping in the same room with sibling(s) that gets them really excited. But only around bed time.

And now that we’re living in a school bus, some nights are really, well, special when it comes to getting them all in bed.

Once the excitement of being in such close proximity to their siblings wears off, the kids settle in and within minutes, our youngest daughter is sleeping. She’s the easiest. The rest draw or read in bed until one by one, they also drift off to sleep.

Ahhhh, quiet.

Thankfully, bedtime isn’t always a struggle. Sometimes it’s actually pretty easy. Those are the nights I remember that I have a few natural remedies on hand that will help my kiddos calm down enough to go to sleep. (Why I don’t remember this every night is beyond me – maybe I’m just so tired my brain isn’t functioning properly.)

In addition to these natural sleep remedies, the following herbs are wonderful to have on hand to gently calm your kids and use in a handful of other remedies as well:


Most people think of chamomile when they think of herbs for sleep. And for good reason – as it is very helpful for promoting a good night’s sleep. Like many sedative herbs, chamomile also settles digestive disorders.

Chamomile can also be used topically to soothe inflamed skin and is gentle enough to use on small children. A diluted bottle of weak chamomile tea can help calm a teething baby and prevent colic spasms. (Find organic chamomile flowers here.)


Catnip is a mild soothing herb that is safe enough to be given to children. For the longest time, I thought it was just a plant that drove my mom’s cats crazy!

Catnip has long been used to settle digestive system disorders and will also help reduce fevers because it induces sweating. The leaves and flowering tops of catnip also provide relief from stomach spasms and coughing, and because it is so gentle, it’s a beneficial herb to have on hand for little ones fighting an illness. (Find organic catnip here.)

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is one of my favorite herbs. It’s antiviral and also aids in healing minor skin irritations. Like catnip, lemon balm is antispasmodic. It can also increase sweating to reduce fevers. It is commonly used to reduce anxiety and restlessness and relax the body. Lemon balm is gentle enough to give to children. (Check out more uses for lemon balm here.)

It also does wonders for digestive upsets (hmmm, I’m sensing a pattern here). In fact, this tea is perfect for drinking after dinner to aid digestion and prevent tummy problems. (Find organic lemon balm here.)

I use some of these herbs in this sleep balm and also in this sleepy tea:

Sleepy Tea

My kids love this tea and will ask for a cup of Sleepy Tea without my prompting. It’s pretty sweet on its own, but they love it when I add a little bit of honey.

Here’s what you’ll need to make your own batch:

Put all of the ingredients in quart-size jar. Cap and shake until well-mixed. Make sure to label your tea!

To make, infuse 1 tsp of tea in 1 cup of hot water. To make it for yourself, use 1 TBSP of the tea. I prefer to use a brewing basket, but a tea ball or other strainer for loose leaf tea will do. Let the tea steep for about five minutes.

Add a bit of raw honey if desired. This tea is safe for infants but should be diluted with a few more ounces of water. Make sure it’s not too hot and serve shortly after dinner.

Do you have any natural remedies for helping your kids calm down and get to sleep?


photo credit to sallypics

About Nina Nelson

Nina is a writer, student midwife, and mama of four. She blogs regularly at Shalom Mama and loves helping others create wellness through simple living. Check out her website for more simple wellness tips.

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  1. Kirsten McCulloch says

    Thanks for this recipe. I had no idea catnip was soothing. Personally I hate the taste of chamomile, but I should try this mix on my 11 yo (who genuinely seems to like a variety of herbal teas, unlike me) – he’s been starting to have more trouble getting off to sleep lately. Though moving his 7 year old sister out of his room (in with Ms 3), which we will be doing shortly, may also help!

  2. Michelle says

    My kids are allowed to read or look at books for a half hour before lights out. They must stay in their beds during this time. They wind down after their day naturally. They also have to play out in the fresh air during the day. My mom always said we were like kittens or puppies trying to get out of a box if we didn’t get that outside time to run off the energy.

  3. Laura says

    Just a reminder, or perhaps a question, isn’t honey for infants still considered dangerous? If so, seems it should be mentioned in there with the tea for the infant in case some readers don’t know that.

    • mackenzie says

      I think this article is more geared toward children and not infants…most people don’t give infants tea. After a year old its safe to give children honey