It’s That Time Again: The Time of Day You Have Come To Dread!
The time of day your home turns into a battlefield, filled with tears, tantrums, and finely tuned theatrics that make you wonder when exactly you morphed into the villain from a Disney film, and all for asking your children to get ready for bed.
Sound familiar at all?
If you currently struggle to get your kids into their pj’s and convince them that yes, they do need to brush their teeth before bed and that yes they do in fact need to sleep to avoid faceplanting with exhaustion into their breakfast the next morning, then the above scenario is likely quite familiar to you.
Having trouble persuading your children to get ready for bed is sometimes only half the battle. I haven’t even breached midnight snack requests, 3 am bedwetting, or The alarm isn’t for another 2 hours, go back to sleep, we are not playing trucks right now bedside visits.
Bottom line is: when your kids don’t sleep, YOU don’t sleep. Simple as that.
So, why do some people [she almost cried with relief at never having this problem herself] encounter such resistance from their children when trying to put them to bed? And what can we do about it?
Common Culprits Behind Bedtime Tantrums
There are many reasons you could be experiencing difficulty at bedtime. Here are the most commonly cited ones:
- Overstimulation (too much screen time)
- Lack of bedtime routine
- Separation anxiety
- Frustration over lack of control
- Screens in the bedroom
- Stress (yes, kids get stressed too!)
There are quite a few things you can do to ease the burden of nighttime tantrums. Be sure to set a bedtime that remains consistent. Centre a bedtime routine (washing the face, brushing teeth, etc.) around the established bedtime. Limit screen time leading up to bedtime. Read a story together in bed to encourage the relaxation response.
But What If You’ve Tried Everything Under The Moon To Encourage Your Kids To Go To Sleep And STAY Asleep?!
What if just can’t seem to make any of it less troublesome for everyone involved? Then why not consider this amazing way to actually Get. Your. Child. To. Sleep.
Meditation! Bear with me… Yes, meditation can actually be adopted by children to great effect.
Meditation is growing in popularity around the world and for good reason. Its benefits are numerous and it can help alleviate the symptoms of many health conditions, including chronic pain, depression, and anxiety. Now, you may be thinking:
“Isn’t Meditation a Little Too Much to Ask of a Child?!”
I hear you ask. (Believe me, I wondered the same myself at first)
I mean what child is going to willingly sit in the lotus position for 20 minutes with their eyes closed, humming a mantra? Actually, that question could have just stopped at ‘sit’!
- Meditation is a field that’s unimaginably wide in scope.
- It incorporates many different practices
- There are meditation techniques for kids proven to be a very powerful tool for parents.
So How Exactly Can Meditation Ease Bedtime Struggles?
A lot of children’s meditation involves the use of a tailored visualisation technique which takes advantage of children’s inclination towards vivid imagination. Given children’s natural energetic tendency making it hard for them to sit still for a given period, the visualisation technique provides a ‘diversionary’ tactic that encourages them to use their imaginations to decompress and relax. The child sees this as fun rather than focussing on the silent aspect of meditation.
Here is one effective visualisation meditation technique particularly suited to young children.
Floating Balloons Meditation for Kids
- Have your child get comfortable, ideally lying down in bed.
- Ask them to close their eyes, and place their hand on their belly.
- Now, have them take a deep breath, and focus on expanding their belly like a balloon.
- Tell them to fill their ‘belly balloon’ with air, then release the balloon through their mouth with a gentle whoosh.
- Now, have your child imagine their favourite movie character or superhero. Tell your child that you’re going to play a game with this character. The game will involve collecting enough balloons so that their favorite character will be able to float all the way to the moon
- In order to collect balloons for this game, your child will need to fill each belly balloon with a deep breath, and also, will need to add one thing to the belly balloon that is worrying them.
- Have you child fill up their belly balloon while thinking of something that’s bothering them. Then, explain that as they breathe out and release their balloon into the air, the problem that’s troubling them is now captured within the balloon.
- See how many belly balloons your child can fill. There must be at least a few in order to send their favorite character flying high!
You Can Also Employ The Use Of Guided Meditations, Something You Can Follow Alongside Your Children As You Prepare For Sleep.
I actually did this with my kids years ago, taking my inspiration from a yoga teacher I once had and they absolutely loved it! It worked time-wise as all three were in the same room. Sadly, now as a busy mum who has to get back on the blog after the kitchen clear-up and kids’ bedtime, I don’t make time for it now they are in three separate rooms. It’s something I really would like to get back to because
Guided meditation also has the additional benefit of creating a calm effect on the parent, instilling some peace into what can often be a hectic evening routine in the household.
This visualisation technique, along with many others you can find available online, are wonderful tools for encouraging relaxation before bed. Learn more about meditation for kids to incorporate some fantastic visualisation exercises and meditation techniques to your nightly bedtime routine.
Who knows? Perhaps you will benefit from these nightly meditation exercises too!
IS BEDTIME A NIGHTLY STRUGGLE IN YOUR HOUSE? WOULD YOU TRY MEDITATION WITH YOUR CHILD? I’D LOVE TO HEAR WHAT YOU THINK
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Golub, Erica. “A Bedtime Meditation For Kids So Good You’ll Do It Too.” Mind Body Green. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-24947/a-bedtime-meditation-for-kids-so-good-youll-do-it-too.html
Hardy, Rebecca. “Zen and the art of bedtime: How we turned to meditation to stop the children’s evening tantrums.” Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/features/zen-and-the-art-of-
“Slideshow: Top Reasons Your Child Can’t Sleep, Including You.” Web MD. http://www.webmd.com/children/ss/children-sleep-problems
Stephens, Betsy. “Solution for Kids’ Sleep Problems.” Parents. http://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/sleep/issues/solutions-for-kids-sleep-problems/