A Simple Guide to Sleep Meditation for Kids
Our favorite little people have pretty tough jobs. They go off into the great big world every day learning, growing, making friends, and playing. With so much going on, it’s no wonder sleep is so important. Each night as they doze, their brains are hard at work cataloging, organizing, making memories, and recharging. But with so many wonderful things going on, there’s so much to process and unpack at the end of the day that your child may find it hard to relax and go to sleep.
That’s where sleep meditation comes in. Essentially, sleep meditation taps into the brain’s alpha waves, and it moves your child into a state where they are awake yet relaxed and comfortable enough to drift off to sleep. So when the gears are still turning well after lights out, sleep meditation can help your kid unwind, create a sense of calm, and finally get some rest.
Benefits of kids’ sleep meditation
Sleep meditation is a wonderful way to help kids manage stress and calm down enough to get a good night’s sleep. Moreover, bedtime meditations can encourage self-regulation, melt away the worries of the day and restore feelings of safety and comfort.
Here are a few other proven benefits of meditation for kids:
- Lowers stress
- Enhances mood
- Reduces anxiety
- Lowers blood pressure
Is it possible for your child to meditate?
While parents are often on board with the idea of using meditation to help their kids fall asleep, invariably, the next question is, “Is it even possible for my child to meditate?” The answer to that is a resounding Yes! While it may look different than meditation for adults, the basic premise remains the same: it promotes calm, reduces stress, and helps your little one drift peacefully off to sleep.
Of course, there are notable differences between what works for kids and adults. Guided meditations tend to work better for kids than guided or silent meditations, which require practice and experience in batting away distracting thoughts. Similarly, long-winded guided meditations won’t hold your little one’s attention span for very long so you should start with shorter ones and work your way up.
Kid-friendly sleep meditations
There are many types of meditation to choose from. They can run the gamut from very simple to very complex. But when it comes to meditation for kids, you’ll want to keep it as simple and straightforward as possible.
With that in mind, here are three types of sleep meditation you can try with your child:
Guided meditation (Ages 8+)
Guided meditation is when your child is led to a state of relaxed concentration by another person or recording. Very often, guided meditations address specific issues like anxiety or insomnia.
For guided meditations to work, however, you and your child must choose one that she likes. If the prompts are boring or your child doesn’t like the narrator’s voice, your child will have a tough time paying attention. Moshi makes guided meditation fun for kids by taking a kid-friendly approach to meditation with quirky and mesmerizing meditations, like Waldo’s Wondrous Washing Machine.
Mindfulness meditation (Ages 3+)
This type of meditation is a mental state that requires your child to be fully present with a total focus on “the now.” Mindfulness meditation requires a moment-to-moment hyper-awareness of their thoughts. While techniques tend to vary, this type of meditation often involves deep breathing exercises that focus the mind.
Mantra meditation (Ages 3+)
Mantra meditation is the type of meditation that most people are familiar with. Simply stated, mantra meditation involves repeating a specific word or phrase vocally in order to focus the mind and limit distracting thoughts.
Ideally, mantras should be tailored to your child’s specific needs/situation. Undoubtedly, the mantras your child chooses will evolve over time. But as he/she takes those important first steps, here are a few great mantras to get them started:
- I am thankful
- Let it go
- I am loved
- I am safe
How to teach your child meditation
Once you’ve chosen the right type of sleep meditation for your child, the next step is to guide them through the process. Here are a few tips to help you and your child as you start your journey.
Help them relax
The key to effective meditation is relaxation. When you first begin the process, encourage your child to sit in a relaxed posture. This will allow them to remain alert enough to meditate without zonking out.
Focus on breathing
Encourage your child to breathe in slowly and count to three. Have them hold their breath at the top and exhale to the count of three. As your child breathes out, remind them to focus on their breath and pay no mind to distractions.
Set a timed challenge
Meditation can be difficult for little ones to fully grasp, and perhaps the hardest part is staying focused. To get things rolling, start with sessions in five-minute increments. Challenge your child to spend five minutes being totally aware of their breathing or the guided meditation you’ve chosen.
Moshi Moments, for example, are bite-sized guided meditations specifically designed to teach kids the basics of meditation. With gentle, yet mesmerizing narration, your little one is guided through simple techniques that help them focus on a soothing sound or their own breathing to help them relax and drift off to sleep.
Sleep meditation can be incredibly helpful when your child needs to find some calm at the end of a fun day. And while it may look different than meditation for adults, it’s not impossible. With a few strategic tweaks, you can help your child dial down the hullabaloo swirling in their heads and get a good night’s sleep.