Regardless of the time of year, or how old your kids are, it’s important to have a system in place to wind them down at the end of the day.
A productive and happy day often starts with a good night of sleep — and that goes for everyone really, regardless of age.
Mother Elise Bowerman, who is also a yoga instructor in Metro Detroit, offered some tips on how to relax your children before bedtime. She suggested the following:
Create a bedtime routine. In the yoga practice, a morning and/or evening ritual sets the tone for whatever is to come: for the day, or for sleep. She recommends …
— No screen time at least one hour before bed.
— Dim the lights in your home.
— Put on pajamas.
— Brush teeth.
— Incorporate some soothing yoga practices, if this is something you’re curious about:
The Humming Bee Breath (Bhramari Pranayama) relieves anxiety and tension, and it may help alleviate mild headaches, as well. A round of four to six breaths will provide the benefits.
Legs Up the Wall pose (Viparita Karani) relieves anxiety and calms the mind; it also helps with tired feet and legs. You may hold this pose from 30 seconds to five minutes, depending on your child’s attention span and age. Caution: Avoid this pose if you have serious eye problems, such as glaucoma, or any neck or shoulder issues.
— Read for about 20 minutes, out loud with young children; those older can read to themselves.
— Give plenty of hugs and kisses.
— Lie down in bed, on the back, to rest.
If your child(ren) still seem(s) wide-eyed …
— Ask them what they’re thankful for, but they only get one choice each night. (Sometimes they can ramble on and on!) Cultivating gratitude has numerous benefits, including the ability to improve our happiness, physical health, emotional health, relationships and even career. For kids, it can improve their school work and school activities.
— Ask your child if there’s perhaps one more thing (s)he’d like to talk about. But stick to the one topic, and remind your son or daughter that (s)he can share other ideas or experiences in the morning.
— Explore Box (Square) Breathing by doing the following:
Have your child place hands on belly. (S)he should close eyes, and keep them closed the whole time, and breathe in and out through the nose the whole time.
Flow: Parent — Count out loud to four, child breathes in, belly rises. Parent — Count out loud to four, child holds breath, belly remains still. Parent — Count out loud to four, child breathes out, belly lowers. Parent — Count out loud to four, child holds breath, belly remains still.
***Repeat sequence two to four times, then return to natural breath.
Now it’s time to say good night. Allow this nighttime ritual to soak in. After doing the routine, notice if your child is going to sleep faster, staying asleep, and/or waking in a better mood.
*And for a better idea on some of the yoga poses, try typing some of the names into YouTube, for visual examples.