Getting your kids through their bedtime routine can feel like a battle for some parents, but there are many ways to make it easier on your children and on you. And if you’re looking for kids sleep meditation solutions, you’re already on the right track.
Why is it so hard to get my kids into bed?
Health issues can play a big role in making children feel reluctant to go to bed. A toothache or earache, sleep apnea, or other problems may be keeping your child awake. If your child has wet the bed recently, he or she might be embarrassed or anxious about bedtime. Too much excitement during the day (a much-anticipated birthday party or play date, for example) can keep your child overstimulated way past bed time, as can too much screen time.
But if your child is healthy and does not tick any of the boxes above, there may be other reasons at play. If you have an older child who goes to bed later, the younger sibling often feels resentful about missing out on the exciting things that the brother or sister will do. As your child grows up and starts developing their own opinions and personality, refusing to go to bed is an assertion of their independence.
Getting your kid through the 3 Bs – Bath, Brushing, and Bed – in some homes might feel like a battle. But children’s sleep meditation is a great way to ease your child into bedtime and set a routine that works for everyone.
How does kids sleep meditation work?
Meditation works on children in the same way it does on adults – it helps them feel calmer and more grounded and encourages relaxation. Kids receive a great deal of stimulation during the day and go through all kinds of feelings. Meditation gives them a chance to quiet their racing minds and process their emotions.
Children’s sleep meditation works by putting a child in the right frame of mind to fall asleep. It does not always mean focusing on breathing or closing one’s eyes (which toddlers might find hard to do for too long), but it does involve slowing down the day and the mind. As your child does this with you, it creates an environment of warmth and comfort, enabling them to feel relaxed and drift off to sleep.
How to start kids sleep meditation at home
There are many apps and aids to help your child wind down before bedtime. Some of the most popular are Headspace (age-specific meditation activities) and Spotify (playlists for bedtime music). If you prefer not to let your child use a device, you might choose to play the music or the story on Bluetooth speakers at bedtime.
Older children who are used to using devices at school or at home may enjoy the treat of using an app at bedtime. If you set limits and allocate a specific amount of time, a sleep meditation app might be very helpful to get them to settle down for the night.
Another effective way is to practice a kids sleep meditation activity in a soft voice with your child once they are tucked into bed.
For toddlers, it is often interesting to “put each body part to sleep”. Gently touch your child’s foot and say goodnight to the foot. Follow this up to the head, eyes, neck, mouth, and mind.
For slightly older kids, it might be nice to think about all their favourite people (friends, siblings, teachers, pets, soft toys) and say good night to all of them.
Saying goodnight to the moon, the stars, the trees, the fish in the ocean, the birds in the sky, and many more happy images can also work well.
A slow story (in which nothing exciting happens) is effective for almost any young child. You might choose to describe the day of a dolphin exploring the ocean, or a butterfly flitting from flower to flower to collect nectar.
How to make sure your children’s sleep meditation is effective
If you allow your child a choice in any activity you want them to do, it gives them a sense of control and involvement. Ask them questions that lead them to the activity you want them to do, without offering a choice to not do it. For example: Would you like Mummy or Daddy to put you to bed? Would you like to hear a story about a cat or a rabbit tonight? Would you like to wear your red nightdress tonight or your blue jammies?
Create a routine that is comfortable for you and your partner (or anyone else in the home) as well as for your kids. If possible, start bedtime routines earlier in the evening so you have patience and energy for them. As an added bonus, by the end of the day you will have some time for yourself too.
Once you develop a routine, stick to it as much as possible. Children thrive when they know the routine they are expected to follow and will often remind you about it if you forget. Weaving a short session of kids sleep meditation into their pre-bedtime rituals helps get them in the frame of mind to sleep.
You’ll notice that your child will often drift off during their children’s sleep meditation, so it is best that you do it after they have bathed, brushed their teeth, and are comfortable in bed.
If your child has a lot of energy to burn before bedtime, it will be almost impossible to get them to quiet down. Avoiding sugar, fast food, caffeinated soft drinks and too much TV/screen time can help bring them into the quieter mind frame of bedtime. Try to refrain from physical games, tickling or rough housing for an hour or so before bed, so they are not over-excited before they fall asleep.
When you meditate, what you do – whether you focus on a candle flame, on a spot on the wall, or whether you close your eyes – is not as important as getting the desired result. You need to slow your breathing, reduce distractions, and focus inward, so that you can feel tranquil and relaxed. An effective session of kids sleep meditation should do the same for your child.