CATCHING SOME ZZZ’S
In our post about sleep, Katie talked about the importance of sleep for adults and how to get better quality sleep. But it is vital for kids to get good sleep too. Their little bodies release growth hormones while they sleep, in addition to cytokines, which help the body fight off infection among other things. When kids sleep well, and enough they are better prepared to pay attention and deal with the demands of the next day.
In our mindfulness for kids post, we talked about a few ways you can help your kiddos get a bit of peace and float off to sleep. While those techniques have worked wonders in our household, another one that we always come back to, especially with our son (who often has trouble calming down for bed) is a guided meditation that I start with him and he continues on his own. It’s vital for him to get enough sleep so I like to help him calm down with this meditation.
We call it his special place meditation because it always takes place in the same imagined location. We always start walking down a path, through a beautiful forest and out to a clearing by a stream. I include a lot of detail (eg. a fork in the path, types of trees etc) so he can come back to the same memory each time and train his mind to recognize that this series of images means calming down time.
When we started many months ago it was just a clearing and he would explore and meet various creatures and new places surrounding the clearing. As he’s a massive Minecraft fan, he has since built a castle from precious stones he mined from his special place. The castle has various rooms, a drawbridge with a moat filled with Narwhals, and a special room for his favorite narwhal, Bubbles.
There are built in characters he always sees and it’s his own very special place he can go and imagine away before he floats off to dreamland. There is nothing there that he doesn’t want there. He is completely safe in this place and can usually get past any bedtime anxiety using this technique. Tonight he said the castle is quite full, so he’s off to explore the fork in the path…I can’t wait for the morning report of what he found!
It’s a wonderful practice to add to a bedtime routine and a great stretch of the imagination muscle. Give it a try with your kiddos and let us know how they like their own special places.