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Our top 5 bedtime connection rituals

By THE MINDFUL MUM IN Connect

If you find bedtimes to be one of the hardest parts of the day, then you’re most certainly not alone. Everyone is tired and it’s not just the under fives that have the melt-downs! Little ones often get a second wind as soon as they get their PJs on… right at the time when you’re well and truly running out of reserves and craving some much-needed peace and quiet.

It’s common to push through these moments in a bubble of frustration and disconnect, marching on towards the finish line. But, the good news is, with just a few small changes to the routine, you can make it a whole lot less stressful and ultimately one of the most cherished parts of your day.

So how do you create a space of connection that the whole family genuinely looks forward to? Read on for our top 5 connection rituals that are sure to help!

 

1. Counting breath

This is our number 1 for a very good reason! Not only are you teaching the fundamentals of emotional self regulation to your little one but you get to centre yourself and as well. Dim the lights and start with just 10 breaths, then build up to 2 minutes of breaths as they get older. Since role-modelling is so powerful, even if your little one doesn’t understand how to do it, you can still introduce the concept by simply demonstrating: “Mummy is going to take a slow breath now with my eyes closed. In through my nose, like I’m smelling the flowers, and out through my mouth like I’m blowing out the candles. As slow as I can”. You can download a free audio meditation for kiddies at the bottom of this page to help you along.

 

Top tip: If your little ones are completely wired and bouncing off the walls you can try using the stopwatch on your phone and explaining “we need to breath together until this number reaches a 1 (or 2 etc)”. All little eyes usually stay glued to the screen when we pull this one out the bag and it really helps bring the frenetic energy right down. Winning!

 

2. The Sound game

This is a modification of a classic mindfulness meditation where you focus all your attention on all the sounds you can hear, near and far. In the sound game you ask them to switch on their super ears and listen for the sound they can hear that’s the furthest away. Remind them you will be listening for 1 minute so you need to be really quiet to hear it. Compare the sounds that you all heard. Then have another minute to listen to the sounds that are closest to you. Compare. Lastly, ask them to listen to the sounds that are in their bodies. Breathing, tummy rumbles that sort of thing. This is a lovely way to teach them how to bring their awareness from way outside themselves, right down into themselves.

 

3. The Body scan game

This is another mindfulness technique modified for kids. This game is great when they are feeling really twitchy and active. Slowly you can go through each body part starting at their toes and moving upward. If you’re feeling up for it, give them all a voice and an accent to keep their attention! 

“Hi, I’m your toes. Give me a little wiggle.Yes, that’s me. Oh goodness but I’m so tired! I’ve been helping you balance all day and now I really need a rest”.

“Hello, I’m your knees, can you find me? I’ve been bending ALL day. Helping you to stand up and sit down, and run and play. I am so so tired now”.

This not only teaches the body scan technique but also love and respect for each body part. A focus on what it can do and not what it looks like. 

 

4. Stroking Stories

This one is a gem. When life is so busy, it’s easy to miss out on physical connection. Drawing stories on your little ones backs allows for endorphin releasing touch time to be baked into your day and they are sure to love it! You can incorporate songs or tell a story as you draw pictures on their bodies. It’s an opportunity to create stories that stem from recent experiences like.. “Little bunny was excited for his first day at daycare” or “Mini the cat and her sister loved to share”.

Stories or songs about your child, their world and relationships are a real hit. These cement acceptance and love into their understanding of the world.

 

Here is a lovely one to try:

 

Goodnight to the sun up in the sky (draw sun on their back).
Goodnight the the clouds rolling on by (draw clouds… ).
Goodnight to the trees (draw trees… you get the idea)!
Standing tall in the breeze. 
Goodnight to the earth we love.
Goodnight to sheep munching on the grass (soft pinches make them giggle here)!
Goodnight to the chicks that grow so fast
Goodnight to the dog and the cat (insert your pet/s here)
Goodnight to the animals/pets we love.
Goodnight to your mummy who you know loves you (kiss)
Goodnight to your daddy who you know loves you (kiss)
Goodnight to (another family member) who you know loves you
Goodnight to the family we love (draw a heart). 

 

 

5. Visualisations

Visualisations are a great way to teach kids the power of their inner world to regulate their own emotions. It works best with kids over five. With their eyes closed, teach them to use their breath to enter their visualisation. You can take them on a journey to a unique magically calm place, prompting them to create the scenes in their mind. The garden visualisation is a great starting point. Taking them to their garden in their mind which is uniquely theirs, encourages children to build a safe and relaxing place they can visit inside themselves whenever they feel overwhelmed. 

We’ve created a lovely little “Land of Mindfulness” Meditation for kids for you to try with your little ones! Just pop in your email details below to download. We’re in this together 😉

 

THE MINDFUL MUM

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