Sleepy Time episode eight – Sensory bedtime story for five to eight year olds

Take your child on a natural journey with this sensory podcast episode that's designed to help them prepare for sleep

Sleepy Time podcast

The sounds of nature are very soothing and can help your child relax and mentally prepare themselves for sleep.

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In this episode, we’ll be taking your child on a sensory walk through the woods and encouraging them to imagine the sights and sounds of the forest.

Listen now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Acast or wherever you find your podcasts. Alternatively, you can listen using the player below or read on for a transcript of the episode.

Our bedtime podcast is brought to you in association with parenting website MadeForMums. Each episode is written by psychologist and yoga teacher Suzy Reading and narrated by Gemma David of The Quiet Heart.

Help your child to relax with a sensory forest walk

Rest your head on your pillow and allow your eyes to gently close, we are going to take a journey in your mind. A journey together to a beautiful place. A place that’s safe and calm. If you enjoy visiting this place, know that you can take this journey any time you like. It is always there for you, whenever you want to feel peaceful. Let’s get ready to take a walk together to this special place.

It is late afternoon and the sky is scattered with small wisps of cloud. The sun shines tenderly on our shoulders and we head out together, hand in hand. We wander along a small winding path up into the woods. It feels cooler now we’re beneath the canopy of the tall trees. Listen to the sounds of the woods around us. What can you hear? Notice the crunch of leaves and twigs underfoot.

Who else can you hear? Footsteps of the woodland deer seeking out green shoots to munch on? The scurrying of a squirrel digging for acorns. A little grey rabbit darting through the undergrowth? We pause and watch all this life moving about us and in our stillness they know we are friends, and go calmly about their foraging. We stop and watch for a while, connected with all these other woodland friends.

As we go on we collect some smooth sticks. Pop them in your pocket, we will use these later to play a calming game. We walk on, listening out for sounds of other creatures around us. Every so often we hear the call of birds and the flap of their wings as they flit from one branch to another.

This is such a beautiful, safe place. It is so full of life and it is so lovely to be part of it. The path leads us out into an open meadow of soft, pale green grass. We enjoy walking together out into the sunshine, feeling the warmth on our shoulders again. This time we are on the hunt for smaller friends. If we go carefully and quietly we might just see a leaping grasshopper, a shiny beetle or a bee buzz by. If we pause for a moment a butterfly might even come to rest on your shoulder. Let’s keep a look out. Let me know what you see!

And finally we come to our little, meandering stream. The water is cool and gently winds its way along. It feels relaxing to stop and be still here by this stream, watching the water swirl, listening to the creatures who make this their home. After a while, the frogs resume their chorus and every so often, if we are really still, the shimmering dragonflies zoom close by. Look at the glorious colours in their wings!

Are there any birds you can see here? If we’re really lucky maybe a vivid blue kingfisher will zip through the reeds or we can always watch the old grey heron do his silent fishing.

Before we head home, it’s time to play our favourite game here at this stream. Take the smooth sticks out that we gathered in the woods. We each have a couple. These sticks are just like any worries we have. One at a time, we drop the sticks into the water and watch them float away downstream, taking all our worries with them. Notice how much lighter you feel as all your cares float away! We laugh together as we watch the sticks bob up and down and disappear out of sight. The stream is very happy to look after all our worries.

As dusk arrives it is time for us to head back to the comfort of home. The sky is turning a soft shade of peachy pink and we say our goodbyes to the stream, grateful that it washed our worries away. Lighter and brighter we stride out through the meadow, watching the birds returning to their nests to settle in for the night. All the animals in the woods are calmly preparing for rest as well. We can see the squirrels making their way back to their families in their nests. We are all getting ready for sleep to come.

Hand in hand we take the path back home, feeling safe and content. It is lovely to be part of this beautiful place, knowing we can come here any time we like. Enjoy coming back to safety of your home. Our journey to our special place is finished and it is time to curl up into bed. Now it is time just to rest and wait for sleep to come. Feel the comfort of your bed wrapping you up in a warm embrace.

Enjoy that the busyness of your day is done and you can let the feeling of your breath lead you into a restful night. If any worry pops up, imagine tossing another stick into the stream and watch it float away. The stream is always happy to take care of your worries.

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Then bring your attention back to your smooth breathing. A relaxed breath in and a lovely long breath out. You are safe, all is calm and sleep is on its way, just rest until it comes.