Bedtime is a critical time for children. They encounter experiences all day in school, interacting with others. Bedtime is the best time to let go of it all. I find the exercise – that we are about to explore – works well as we release the day’s emotions in a relaxing way.
Why Is Bedtime Important To Connect With Your Child?
Bedtime is a good time to connect with your child, especially if you are a busy family. My son is only ten and we still have our best chats at night, when he feels relaxed and is ready to share his adventures of the day with me. So often, we run through the day and then flop in bed because we are tired – and so are the children – but there needs to be a letting go of the day and a mental absorption and understanding of the experiences of the day, so, we do not carry them to the next day.
Bedtime is a great time to go on adventures with your children. This is the best time to use your imagination to relax, build up their confidence, and send them off full of love and joy. My son is ten – as I mentioned and as you know – they grow physically and emotionally, so try and realize this is happening and be creative with your story. The story is about something they love while you weave in your parenting work.
Why Are Bedtime Stories Important?
This method works well when they do not want to talk because while you relax their complete nervous system, you are also making them feel safe and calming the emotions. When an adult or even the children feel relaxed and calm, they tend to open more and share. It is a win-win, they do not feel we are nagging them and we help them to cope with life in a healthy way. They sometimes do not know how to ask for help, so, we just offer it in this form for them and they will be able to solve their problems better and make better choices for their life.
Here is an example of a story you can use with your child. This is just a framework – you can add, delete, and be creative; just go with the flow. The great thing about starting early with your child is that you have already given them a fountain of excellent tools as they grow up.
Bedtime Stories, Mind, Body, And Breath-Cleanse Exercise
Now you get to be the storyteller and the children simply follow your words. Make sure their room is cozy, lights are off or dimly lit. Setting the right atmosphere always gets them to drop into a state of relaxation, safety, and love right away. When this happens, the body starts to relax and allows the nervous system to move into the blissful state. The body begins to mend itself and the emotions start to move. Sometimes there is something that might have caused fear, worry, or stress that the child is not able to explain. This helps them to go through all of those without even thinking about it. They just feel relaxed, happy, and peaceful.
There are so many benefits to this exercise.
Benefits Of Breath-Cleanse Exercise
- They become very focused being – in the now – and their mind is steady.
- The deep breathing removes toxins from the body and the lungs.
- It relaxes their complete nervous system and alters their state of mind.
I am sure – as a busy parent – you are looking for time to do a little relaxing yourself, but between work, home, and your child’s activities, you probably cannot squeeze in any practice. I used to feel the same way. First, I felt guilty for taking time away from my child even if it was only for 15 minutes. Once I was going to do my meditation and yoga, when I thought “Why not make my child a part of this process and do a min-version with him and a deeper version after, when I am already half-way there?”
There are always ways to find time to include these important practices into your family’s life; you just must believe it is important and it will happen. It will help your children with their activities, school, and life itself. The work and effort you put in now sets the stage for years to come.
As parents, I would apply this to your bedtime routine. Most of the time, we just flop into bed after a day at work, making dinner, playing with the kids, and the list goes on and on. When we offer ourselves – this nurturing – we can feel better and respond from a different place in all areas of our life. We start to shift our states from stress, anger, and fear to one of these: more love, courage, and joy. We are the example for our children. Be sure to tell your children that you also do this before bed. In fact, why not do it together? Just don’t fall asleep!
There are 2 fun exercises you can do with them.
2 Bedtime Routines To Practice With Your Child
1. 3-Part Breath
This bedtime routine is important to get them emotionally healthy. Follow these steps:
1. As your children lie down, put your hands on their stomach.
2. In one long breath:
- Ask them to breathe in deeply through their noses, instruct them to feel your hands moving up with their stomachs breath.
- As they are breathing in, move your hands to their ribs and tell them to breathe into their ribs.
- Finally, while they are breathing in, move your hands to their chests and tell them to breathe into their chest.
3. It will be one long breath. In the beginning, they will breathe quickly. As they learn to use their breath this way, they will also learn how to let everything go.
4. Do this for three rounds.
5. Now move your hands beneath their lower backs.
6. In one long breath:
- Ask them to breathe in deeply through their noses into their backs.
- Move your hands to their upper ribs and ask them to breathe there.
- Finally, move your hands to their top backs and have them breathe there.
7. Then ask them if they can feel any tightness, tension, or any “funny feelings” anywhere.
8. When they find it, ask them to breathe into and imagine it getting bigger like a balloon. One deep breath for that, then exhale and imagine the balloon pop in that area.
9. Do this a couple of times and ask them if it feels better. If not, continue until it does.
2. Bliss Sleep And Mind Cleanse: 10-Second Countdown
Another way to cleanse the mind is counting backward from 10 to 1. Here is an example of the story I use with my son. I create many stories, these are just a few. Try them out or add to them or make them your own. As they are lying on the bed and the lights are off, you can start in a soft voice. You can start your bedtime story now and weave in overall wellness and positive emotions.
My Personal Experience
This is how I practice this bedtime routine and converse with my son. You too can try the same.
Allow yourself to find the most comfortable position now (insert your child’s name).
- First, I want you to squeeze your whole body from the top of your head all the way down to your toes. Squeeze, squeeze, and now hold for 3, 2, 1. Now let it go.
- Again, squeeze your whole body even – your hair, your toes, your fingers, your stomach. Hold 3, 2, 1. Now let it all go.
- Now take a deep breath in through your nose slowly. (You can have fun with your voice and say it slow.)
- Inhale slowly through the nose and exhale and say “haaaa”. (I joke with my son and say, “Hey, I did not hear the “haaaa”, let’s try that again”.)
- Deep breath through your nose slowly, and now exhale while saying “haaaa”. (Make sure you watch their bellies when they are breathing. When they inhale, their bellies should expand like a balloon and when they exhale, their bellies should sink in towards their spines. This is the proper breath.)
I, now, ask my child to listen to my voice and follow my instructions.
10. Open your eyes. Close your eyes. Pause for two or three seconds; in between open and close your eyes. Feel how much the whole world loves you, filling your heart up with tons of love and your heart feeling so happy. Pause for 10 seconds or so between each number to allow the words to digest. (Hopefully, your child is off to dreamland forest well before 1!)
9. Open your eyes. Close your eyes. Imagine this warm feeling of love in your heart spreading everywhere in your body, feel warm and tingling from the top of your head all the way down to your toes. (Then pause let them feel this.) (pause).
8. Open your eyes. Close your eyes. Feel your eyes getting heavier as if you cannot open them anymore and that is ok if they do not open any more as I count down. You are strong and confident. You can do anything you imagine, what do you imagine? (pause).
7. Open your eyes. Close your eyes. Imagine you can be anything in the whole wide world. See it now in your mind. Feel like you are there and doing it (pause).
6. Open your eyes. Close your eyes. Allow your day to drift away, let go of it all, and bring only the fun and exciting moments with you. Let the rest drift away on a cloud and say goodbye to them (pause).
5. Open your eyes. Close your eyes. Your eyes are getting heavier and you feel so peaceful and calm inside your body (pause).
4. Open your eyes. Close your eyes. Mommy and daddy love you very much. You’re perfect just the way you are (pause).
3. Open your eyes. Close your eyes. Don’t worry if you cannot open your eyes anymore (pause).
2. Open your eyes. Close your eyes. You are perfect the way you are. Be just you, no one else because being you is the best (pause).
1. Open your eyes. Close your eyes. May your dreams be filled with love and beautiful thoughts, knowing you are protected and safe and are truly a miracle.
As a mom, this gives you more time to connect with your child in a deep way. It allows you to understand what is going on in their world and be there as a guide for them. Most of all, set an intention of pure love during this time and be fully present; they will feel this.