Children process so much information through their day - it’s especially important for them to be able to rest and recover with the help of a good night’s sleep. Kids sleep meditation is one approach that has proven effective in improving the sleep cycles of children and adults alike.
As Rachel Dawkins, M.D at Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital explains: ‘Studies have shown that kids who regularly get an adequate amount of sleep have improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, and overall mental and physical health’. The importance of a good night’s sleep is, therefore, a vital part of any child’s well-being.
Empowering your children with the right tools to get better sleep can help them, even as they grow into adults. Here’s everything you need to know about teaching your kids sleep meditation, and why it’s important.
Sleep meditation is a specific, guided experience, that aims to completely relax the body and mind when winding down for the night. It can come in a few different forms - guided meditation requires deep breathing, while other forms integrate yoga to calm the body as well as the mind.
While there are many different approaches to sleep meditation, the core practice remains the same - focusing on the breath, staying mindful of the body, and acknowledging thoughts without allowing them to take over.
Getting a child to sit perfectly still while quietly acknowledging their thoughts might seem like it deserves a Nobel Prize. Thankfully, the process is a lot easier than you might think - don’t worry, we’ll mail your plaque to you either way. A couple of tried and tested strategies and tools can help your child build sleep meditation into a daily practice.
Not sure where to start? You have a ton of free online resources that can help you teach your child how to meditate before bed:
For all of this effort, you might be wondering if teaching your kids sleep meditation can really make that much of a difference. Here are a couple of reasons experts say it’s worth taking the time to do:
Some schools in the US have begun replacing detention with a new form of self-reflection: meditation. Educators are finding that meditation can actually be a valuable tool in teaching children how to self-soothe, be more reflective, and be more thoughtful of their actions.
If you struggle with behavioral issues or simply need to figure out how to get your child to stay still, kids sleep meditation can be a great way to impart the lesson without having to bring in disciplinary rules that feel suffocating or overly harsh. For children who are especially fussy about getting to bed on time, disciplinary action might work against you, and make the experience more stressful for them, causing further delay in proper rest. Sleep meditation can be a calmer way to impart sleep discipline.
The most obvious application for kids sleep meditation is for the quality of their rest. If your children are having trouble sleeping, then building a calming sleep routine that involves a little mindfulness can go a long way in the overall quality of their sleep.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, mindfulness meditation can be especially helpful in children who struggle with sleep anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, behavioral issues, and much more.
You might also choose to supplement their new routine with sleep accessories that can help too. Weighted blankets use something known as gentle pressure stimulation to distribute an even amount of weight across the body. Children can find this especially comforting during their sleep since it mimics the familiar feeling of being swaddled.
Meditation expert Cory Cochiolo explains the importance of having your children involved in creating their own bedtime routines - ‘What I’ve learned is kids invest in and trust a routine most when they’ve participated in making it’, she explains. Sleep meditation allows your kids to take ownership of their bedtime and allows them to feel a sense of responsibility for what needs to get done.
Children are especially responsive to their parent’s behavior - encouraging them to remain proactive by asking them if they want to lead a meditation session, and sitting down with them to practice gratitude, some deep breathing, or simple bedtime stories can all contribute to a better night of more restful sleep.
Kids sleep meditation can be a challenging habit to cultivate and put into practice. Consistency and patience are both keys in ensuring your kids are really enjoying their meditative practice, and reaping the full benefits of a good night’s sleep. You’ll find yourselves becoming a family of mindfulness masters in no time.
Do your kid's sleep better after sleep meditation? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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Disclaimer. We love sleep and we want you to get the best sleep possible. But we do not provide medical advice. This blog is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical info, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our blog.