Guided meditation for bedtime? Hey, I’ll try anything.
How often has yelling at your child to “Go to bed!” after a tiring bedtime-battle really worked? It seems counterproductive to punish them into relaxing and sleeping, doesn’t it? Yelling them into a peaceful state, sure that will work when pigs fly! After all, they only want to stay up to be with us longer, cherish that as it’s a compliment that won’t stay long! Bedtime is necessary though and instead of losing your cool when at wits end with endless excuses, it might be time for some creative parenting.
I took a yoga class once, well to be honest quite a few times (okay the cats out of the bag, I’m part hippy) and it was there, that I was introduced to guided meditation. All it boils down to is helping a person reach a state that their mind is too busy to achieve at that time. I remember my mind racing as a kid, especially before bed. I thought monsters were real, worries would take over, or the excitement of the next day would keep me up in anticipation.
I’ve touched on how I handled bedtime worries before (see: the worry rock) but how about those nights where they “just can’t sleep” or nights they have an excuse to get out of bed every five minutes? Well I thought I’d try some guided meditation in place of the normal arguing back and forth, and it worked! I came up with another positive way to work something out and I was stoked! Granted it takes a little time, but no more than a bedtime story, and considerably less than arguing for 30 minutes until one of you finally gives up. I’m the one that usually gives up after all.
Without any further introduction, here’s how we did it. Add in little personal touches to make them feel special. We added in a few of her stuffed animals into the equation and “relaxed” them too, but regardless of how I did it, the important thing is that it worked. If it works for you, you’ll thank me. If it doesn’t, maybe it will work for you, on yourself, after you’ve lost your mind.
Follow along and use this as your guide to help relax your kiddo. You can use these words exactly, or come up with something along these lines to fit your child best.
Take a big deep breath and close your eyes as you breathe out. Imagine a wave of relaxation that covers your body like a blanket. Take another deep breath and as you breathe out, allow the wave of relaxation to spread from the tips of your toes, through your body, and up to the top of your head.
You feel so relaxed, you have no cares, no worries, just a nice warm feeling of relaxation. Starting at your toes, you can feel the muscles of your feet beginning to relax even further. Scrunch your feet together as hard as you can and when you let go notice how much more relaxed you feel. Every breath you are feeling more and more relaxed.
Let the feeling of relaxation spread to your ankles, and into your calves. You are relaxing more than you relaxed before. Your relaxation moves into your knees. It’s a wonderful feeling. Nothing is disturbing you, or worrying you as you go deeper and deeper into this pleasant relaxation.
Tighten your thigh muscles, and then let go. Allow the feeling of relaxation into your thighs and legs. Your tension disappears and fades away. The feeling so relaxed, so peaceful.
Allow the relaxed feeling to move up into your stomach and chest. Take a deep breathe, in and out. Every breath you take makes you feel more and more relaxed. With each breath you feel your body getting heavier as you sink into your bed.
Ball your hands up tightly and as you let them go, notice the relaxation moving from the tips of your fingers up your arms and into your shoulders. You feel loose, limp, and lazy. Allow the relaxation to move into your neck. You allow all your tension to fade away and you enjoy how relaxed and peaceful you feel.
Let the relaxation move into your face. Feel the tension around your eyes fading away and the muscles of your face relax so that every part of your body is completely peaceful and calm.
Now that you are calm and peaceful, imagine yourself lying on the bank of a stream. You can hear the water bubble and rush gently past you. You hear the sounds of birds playing in the trees, and you feel be gentle touch of a cool breeze on a warm day.
As you lay there in a peaceful state a bunny rabbit next to you and nestles into your side. If you startle the rabbit or wake up, the bunny run away so you stay still as possible.
(This is when I placed her stuffed animal next to her)
Lay there still, and calm. You imagine all the fun things you and your rabbit will do when you wake up. But first you need rest. You are safe, you are relaxed, and you are happy.
“See you in the morning, sweetie.” I said as I slowly crept away. She had a smile on her face, and I could see that she was now finally ready for bed. I don’t know if it worked a little too well, but now it’s almost 11 o’clock and she is still asleep holding her stuffed animal.
Good luck, get relaxed and sleep tight! It might just work for your children, and if you are having a sleepless night, it can work for you too. You get the idea, so give it a try!!