Welcome to the first episode of our new Sleepy Time podcast in association with MadeForMums. In this episode, we’ll help your child to relax after a hectic day with some gentle mindful exercises.
They’ll feel settled and will drift off into a restful sleep in no time with this simple meditation practice designed to relieve stress and tension. It’s aimed at children aged 2-5, but younger children may need a little help from a grown-up.
Subscribe now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Acast, or on your favourite podcast app. Listen to the episode below, or read on for a transcript of the podcast.
Sleepy Time is written by psychologist and yoga teacher Suzy Reading and narrated by Gemma David of The Quiet Heart.
Find out how to get your child to go to sleep with this mindfulness technique
Your busy day is finished now. It is time now just to melt into bed. When you rest and when you sleep that’s when your body does lots of growing. We need to look after ourselves by giving ourselves time to rest and sleep and grow. When we rest and sleep that gives us lots of energy the next day too. So it’s time now to let yourself rest so you have energy to play and run and do all the things that make you smile. Well done for looking after your body.
After all the fun in your day, let’s get your mind and body ready for rest, so you can enjoy snuggling down into your bed. Slide your hands across your sheets, feeling how soft it is beneath you. Let your head drop down into your pillow, noticing how soft that feels too.
Sometimes your body can still feel like it’s a bit zingy with energy when you get into bed. Sometimes your mind can be quite busy too. That’s ok! There are things you can do to help your mind and body calm down and feel more ready for rest. Let’s try some of those things together now. You can do these things every night when you hop into bed and you can do them on your own if you wake up. They will help you get back to sleep.
Let’s start by feeling your body. In your bed, give your knees a little tiny bounce, feeling your legs gently move. And then let them flop and drop. Next, feel your toes. You could try giving them a little wriggle or even drawing some circles with your feet. Just do what feels good to you. And then let your toes and your feet relax again.
Now let’s focus on your arms. Start by making a tight fist with your hands – this feels like hard work! Now let it go. Ahhh, that’s lovely and relaxing. Make another tight fist with your hands AND squeeze your shoulders up to your ears. That’s even harder work! Now let it all go. Ahhhhh, it feels much easier to go all floppy now. One last time, let’s get really ready for rest. Squeeze your hands into a ball, lift your shoulders up to your ears AND squish your face up, making it as wrinkled as a raisin! And then let it all go. Maybe you feel like doing a loud sigh after all that work. Ahhhhh. It is so easy to relax after doing those squeezes. You can do this any time you wake up and it will help you relax back into sleepy time.
Now it’s time to let your body get really still. Imagine you are really, really heavy. Can you be as heavy as an elephant? Feel how it helps you sink deep into your bed, letting your body be super still. Your grown up is going to give your face one last little relaxing touch. Feel them give your forehead a little pitter patter with their soft fingertips. It feels like tiny drops of rain on your forehead, calming and soothing your whole body. If you like that feeling, you can do it for yourself too, whenever you want to feel calm and safe.
If you feel sleepy and want to lie still, just let your body drop. If there is still some energy or busy thoughts, you can try the exercises again, this time on your own. Try a little bounce of your knees, try wriggling your toes or make some circles with your feet and then let it all go. Enjoy a few relaxed breaths after all that movement. Next, try making a fist and let it go. Make a fist and squeeze your shoulders up to your ears and let that go. And now make a fist, squeeze your shoulders up to your ears and squish up your face too and then let it all go.
Have a lovely long sigh out too. If you like, you can do the pitter patter across your forehead. Whatever helps you feel calm. Whenever you wake you can try any of these things and they will help you rest until sleeps comes. You are safe. Just enjoy melting into bed.