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 bedtime meditation solutions, you’re already on the right track.
Hard to get your kids into bed? Practice sleep meditation for kids and see the difference.
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 kids bedtime meditation is a great way to ease your child into bedtime and set a routine that works for everyone.
How does sleep meditation for kids 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 classes work on you by giving you a chance to quiet your racing mind and will help children do the same. This also helps them process their emotions.
Kids bedtime 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 sleep meditation for kids at home
There are many apps and aids to help your child wind down before bedtime allowing for better sleep meditation for kids. 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 kids bedtime meditation activities is 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 sleep meditation for kids 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 for sleep meditation for kids, 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. You might like to consult a nutritionist online to understand what to avoid in your child’s diet to help them get a better night of sleep.
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.
What you do during sleep meditation for kids – 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 bedtime meditation should do the same for your child.
As you go through the rituals of kids bedtime meditation, ensure to maintain a low and soothing tone while focussing on rhythm and long pauses to lull your child to a gradual state of sleep and relaxation. It might take consistent effort on your end to inculcate this habit of a night time routine but over time it is quite likely to result in better sleep meditation for kids.
The benefits of sleep meditation for kids
Meditation has been shown to literally alter the structure and composition brain matter. A Harvard university study reveals how two months of meditation is enough to boost grey matter. The benefits of meditation have always been endorsed by Eastern cultures and now, with scientific backing, they are gaining credibility in the Western world as well.
These same benefits can be seen through sleep meditation for kids as well. Kids bedtime meditation is known to bring about the following benefits:
- Improved awareness and attention span
- Higher levels of self-regulation and self-awareness
- Improved mental and emotional health
- Higher levels of empathy
- Improved immunity and resilience
- Reduced levels of stress and anxiety
- Better quality and quantity of sleep
- Higher levels of creativity
Sleep meditation for kids has the potential to allow your child to become mindful of every aspect of themselves, from their physical body to their minds and emotions. This is an invaluable and often underrated ability which we tend to lose as adults as our lives get increasingly busy and stressed.
This ability to understand our own feelings, thoughts and physical sensations allows us to recognize when our bodies and minds are in distress. Being distressed and disconnected is a huge burden on the body-mind. Sleep meditation for kids arms a child with self-awareness from an early age to help develop the ability to respond, rather than react to situations from an early age which results in an optimal state of wellbeing in the long run.
Mobile apps for sleep meditation for kids
It might seem wrong to use mobile applications for kids bedtime meditation but it has tremendous potential as long as you control the use of the device and ensure that your child understands what he or she is using it for.
Here is how some of the best mobile applications for sleep meditation for kids in Australia work:
Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame:
Sesame Street’s mobile app makes children go through five scenarios where they help the monsters solve problems and learn to relax. In calming down the monsters by breathing deep, your kid inadvertently learns to the same. This is ideal for 2-5 years old and is a free app.
Developed by a team of psychologists who specialize in mindfulness, this mobile app uses an Australian accent in guided meditation sessions. Each session is short, bearing in mind the limited attention spans of children, and ensures a successful sleep meditation for kids. It is ideal for kids of all ages and is free on the App Store.
Headspace for Kids:
The brainchild of Andy Puddicombe, a Buddhist monk turned meditation pioneer, the kids’ version of Headspace is available through adult subscription. The meditations are arranged by age and range from short one-minute meditations to nine-minute sessions. They make sleep meditation for kids incredibly easy and fun. This is a paid app.