Creating a relaxing bedtime routine is as important as our morning, school or work routines. Routines create good habits and help us maintain skills we need throughout the day and sometimes in life in general. When you do something consistently, it then makes it easier to do even when you are upset, anxious or worried.
So what does your typical bedtime routine look like? An adult bedtime routine may be very different than the routine we put into place for our children. However, there are some aspects of both routines that can be accomplished together as a family. In my house we typically end the night by reading a bedtime story.
Add Mindful Meditation into the Bedtime Routine
However, have you ever thought about including a brief meditation with your kid(s) before they go to sleep? Reading a bedtime story can be very relaxing and enjoyable. You do not need to give this up, instead you can simply add a mindful mediation into your established routine. Teaching our kid(s) how to wind down is so important and learning about mindfulness and meditation is the perfect way to do this.
Sometimes right before you go to sleep, you may begin to worry about the next day. Maybe you find it hard to go to sleep or stay asleep. This is because as soon as we begin to attempt to go to sleep, that is when our brain quiets down for the day. With this, some of us may experience anxiety because our mind is no longer actively engaging in all of the tasks it was busy doing during the day. This is also a time that our kids can begin to feel a sense of anxiety too, but they may not have the words to express this yet. You may hear them say instead “my belly hurts” or “I can’t go to sleep.”
Relaxing Bedtime Routine with Meditation
One way to help with bedtime worries is to practice a short meditation every night. When you make this a routine, you begin to teach your body how to feel calm instead of worried. Then when you are worried, you will already know what to do.
There are so many great meditations available on the internet, but one site that I really love to use is calm.com. I love how this site has many different types of meditations to choose from. (I am not affiliated with this site, nor receive any compensation, I just truly love it). You can do a 2 minute meditation or a 10 minute mediation. No matter how long you choose to mediate before bed, make this a family activity. Do this together with your kids before bed and you will find that this is a perfect addition to your current bedtime routine.
Relaxing Bedtime Route with a 5 Senses Exercise
And for those nights that the whole bedtime routine is not possible, you can try to do a calming activity before bed instead, such as a mindful grounding exercise. One that I love is the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 exercise. You begin by getting in a comfortable position and then you focus on 5 things you can see. With each one take a deep breath in between. Then you notice 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can feel, 2 things you can smell and finally 1 thing you can taste. Bringing your awareness to your senses, helps you to feel grounded and calmer. With teaching your children about grounding, it will provide them with a way to be more present and in the moment. This is all part of mindfulness and being simply mindful.
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