If you have a very alert child or an anxious child, they may have more difficulty in calming down or relaxing for sleep at bedtime.
This can show up in lots of different ways including difficult behaviour, pressing for arguments, asking lots of questions that haven’t been important until bedtime, tears and tantrums, or making lots of demands for drinks, toilet trips, or other requests.
Some children’s brains are just so active or full of worry that they find it hard to calm their mind down and prepare for sleep peacefully.
If your child is over two and half or three years old, I often recommend that you try Guided Meditations or Relaxations as part of a soothing bedtime routine.
What are they?
Guided Meditations are audio recordings which provide calming, soothing visualisations, which focus on breathing and relaxation of the body and mind. They can be really helpful for preparing your child to sleep well with a clear mind and a relaxed body.
There are many special versions of these available, specifically designed to calm children in preparation for sleep. They vary in length, style, content and target age.
I recommend that you try a few different ones with your child to see if they help. And rather than rushing out and spending money on ads, videos, or downloads – I advise that a good place to start is by looking on You Tube.
A word of caution
I recommend Guided Meditations as a method of calming your child’s mind and body in preparation for falling asleep independently. However:
- I don’t recommend that you allow your child to fall asleep listening to it, as it can create another sleep association or sleep crutch. For that reason, I recommend using it before bed when the lights are still on or slightly dimmed.
- Although I am recommending trying out the Mediations on You Tube, I don’t recommend letting your child watch them at bedtime. It is far more beneficial to listen to the meditation and not watch screens at bedtime in particular.
Watching devices at bedtime can stimulate your child and expose them to blue light sources which will disrupt their melatonin levels (sleep hormone) and circadian rhythm (body clock) and actually make sleep more difficult!
So for bedtime meditations, it is much better to play them on a device where the child can hear the meditation, but not see the screen – such as having a tablet screen face down and away from your child.
Here are some of my favourite Guided Meditations for children (which are all available to use for free on You Tube).
Cosmic kids Yoga, Guided Mediations. I really love, love Cosmic Kids Guided Meditations.
They are suitable for a wide range of ages and you can find a selection of them here
There are lots to choose from but I particularly like the Balloon, Cosmic Cat or Butterfly. Take a look and try a few out with your child. They also have a great selection of Mindfulness and Yoga activities for daytime use too.
New Horizons If your child is older, you might like to try some of those available from New Horizons available here
I particularly like The Hot Air Balloon or Your Secret Treehouse.
Be aware that these are much longer and use more difficult imagery, that is probably not suitable for a child under 6 or 7 years old. You may also need to shorten these to use at bedtime.
You may well find further Guided Meditations on You Tube that you also like. Remember that they need to be calming, age appropriate, suitable for audio only (no watching screens before bedtime) and not too long.
The Sleep Sanctuary
If your child is struggling to fall asleep at bedtime, find out how I can help you with a Free Initial Consultation which you can book online here