Try these mindfulness exercises before bed to help your kids relax and sleep.
I want to share with you these gems which have helped our children to relax, sleep and develop mindfulness in their daily lives.
Mindfulness is quietly noticing our feelings, thoughts, bodily sensations and what’s going on around us. It’s being able to stay focused on being here, right now.
It improves children’s ability to pay attention, make better decisions and to calm down when they are tired.
When we feel happy, supported and calm we sleep better.
These two calming games are perfect for getting kids into bed. They nurture concentration and relaxation.
Breathing Buddy Game
Find a small soft toy and put it on top of your child’s tummy as lie on their back in bed.
Get them to focus their attention on the rise and fall of the soft toy as they breathe in and out. If you like you can quietly count of three as they breathe in and again as they breathe out.
Try to do it for at least one or two minutes or as long as they are able to concentrate. Make a game of it. Add a second toy or time it how long they can keep their focus.
2. Little Singing Bell
Use any bell that has a long clear ring. A singing bowl, metal bell or even an app which has a single bell chime will work well. Ask your child to sit or lie quietly and then make the bell ring once. Ask them to listen to the bell and tell you when they can no longer hear its ring. This is often about 30 seconds. This simple exercise builds listening skills and concentration. It is also a perfect calming down game.
Here are a few other ideas to build smooth bedtime routines.
3. Audio Stories
These are perfect to wean kids away from screens and get their imaginations pumping.
Current tech now makes recorded stories available to kids everywhere. These are a slick alternative to games and screens.
Audio stories stimulate the imagination and importantly, develop the ability to make mental concepts from heard or read language without pictures or diagrams.
There are also a growing number of guided audio stories which focus on relaxation and are designed to help kids calm down and sleep.
This type of content has been shown to bring huge benefits. Many kids are able to concentrate more at school and get a deeper more rejuvenating sleep as a result of learning how to relax.
It's important to listen to stories before you give them to your kids.
Check out the Learning Stories – Sleep & Relaxation Audio HERE Bedtime Relaxation
4. Walk Before Bed
Fresh air, a bit of exercise and a change of scene can be a lovely way for the family to spend time together before bed. The fresh air will wear the little ones out and kids of different ages can go into their particular routines when you get home. The important bit is everyone gets the message that this is the beginning of bedtime.
Kids get into pyjamas, even if they are hidden underneath a warm jacket, dressing gown or tucked up in a stroller. Parents get to chat about their day and kids enjoy the magic of seeing the outside world winding down too.
- If you want to practice mindfulness, try a minute of silence for everyone to listen to the sounds around them.
- Kids also enjoy discovering anything that is different or new. Making a game of this strengthens memory skills and is a lot of fun.
5. Gentle Lights
Light plays a huge part in the brain gearing down for bed. It’s widely recognized that screen time should end at least an hour or two before bedtime allowing hormones that regulate sleep to do their thing, which supports health body cycles.
Here are a few easy, fun ideas:
Bath: Dim lights during bath time and let the warm water relax and calm. A few drops of lavender and a little Epsom salts in the bath will work wonders. We tried this with my seven year old nephew when came to stay. Dan has autism and trouble sleeping. He was a very quiet little guy after this type of bath and went straight to sleep, slept though all night and no wet bed either!
Dinner: Try a surprise candle lit dinner with other house lights either off or on dim. Put a flash light on the kitchen bench for each child to collect once they have taken their plates to the kitchen. If you are keen, a little finger shadow play is always well received. Older kids can shower with lights dimmed and will often join in with the shadow play fun.
Stories are essential in all cultures. They help us share ideas, develop a sense of humour and pass down important information. A child’s well being relies on you spending quality time with them.
Choose calming stories or something that will stimulate their imagination as they relax and go to sleep. Finding good content is important and they will quickly tell you what they do and don’t like.
Here’s a great website to find some positive story books: Brightstar Bedtime Stories
7. Sharing Time
Something I remember from my own childhood was sharing time just before the lights went out. We would talk about the ups and downs of the day and share any special moments.
We’d give thanks for the day and the loving people in our lives. There was always a wish of love and protection for each family member by name, a few close friends and of course our cats. This put us in calm, reflective, happy moods.
Filled with gratitude and feeling connected to our loved ones we were ready for sleep.
8. Yoga to Relax
Relaxing the body helps the mind chill out too. Yoga is especially useful for kids who have a hard time winding down. A little yoga daily increases health and healing. The beauty is that they can use these poses to relax at any time.
Here are a few simple poses to try. Just do a few minutes of each pose to start with.