Meditation is another one of those buzzwords that seems to be everywhere lately. It can be one of those words that’s hard to get a grasp as to what it means. Meditation is the practice of focusing on mindfulness; meaning: focusing one’s mind on a particular thought, activity, or object. It’s done with the intent of training one’s attention and awareness to achieve mental clarity as well as a stable and calm emotional state.
That can feel like a lot to unpack, it can be even more to unpack for kids; however, practicing meditation from an early age can help kids better acclimate to changes, become more mindful of themselves, stay focused on the present, control emotions, and so many other benefits. And these benefits aren’t just for kids, meditation is great for kids and adults of all ages. Today we want to share our 5 favorite sleep meditations for kids.
Types of Meditation
Meditation can be broken down into a few main types: mindfulness, guided, and mantra. Each of these has a different focus and can be used in different ways.
Sleep can be a tricky thing to do some nights. Whether due to insomnia, anxiety, excitement, or a number of other factors. When sleep is hard to attain you can help your child achieve some needed sleep through meditation.
Mindfulness meditation focuses on breathing exercises to help the mind focus. This type of mindfulness meditation can also be done by focusing your attention on a particular part of your body or a sound. A couple mindfulness meditations we love and we think kids will also enjoy are:
Breathing in the Calm
To do this lay down on your back in bed, make yourself comfortable. Take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Focus on your breath filling your lungs, making them full, and then release the breath over the count of 5 or more seconds
The intention of this exercise is to focus on your breath and feel it fill and then leave your lungs.
Muscle Flex and Relax
For this mindfulness meditation lay down in bed in whatever way is most comfortable for you. Either beginning at the top of your head or at the bottom of your feet, tense the muscles and then release them.
For example, starting at the top of your head, try to flex or scrunch the top of your scalp, then release noting how it feels to have the muscles on your head feel tense and then relaxed. Then do the same for your forehead, eyebrows, eyes, cheeks, mouth, jaw, and on down to your neck, shoulders, arms, hands, and so on. All the while you’re focusing on the sensation you feel when releasing the muscles.
Very often when doing this you may not make it all the way from top to bottom or bottom to top before falling asleep. Try it the opposite direction the next night!
A Meditation for Older Kids
Another way to practice mindfulness meditation is to imagine your thoughts as passing objects. To do this lay down in bed, in whatever way is most comfortable, but the back is best for this meditation. Once comfortable imagine yourself as a river rock at the bottom of a shallow stream. Take time to imagine what you’d look like as this river rock. What color is the rock? Is it a flat rock? Round?
Once you know what you look like as this rock, allow the calming, cool (or warm), bubbling brook of water flow over you. Imagine what the trees look like above, are the trees green, in bloom, or perhaps fall is upon these trees?
As other thoughts enter your mind, know that it’s ok that these thoughts are there. Take a moment to acknowledge these thoughts and allow them to flow on. Maybe you want to imagine them as leaves flowing on the bubbling stream.
Remember to breathe deeply and calmly as you imagine yourself as this softened river rock, focusing on your breath entering and leaving your lungs.
When partaking in guided meditation you’ll be following along with a guide, teacher, or practitioner. Often this is done through an audio recording, but can also be done in person. Guided meditation can also come with a purpose like helping the listener overcome insomnia or anxiety.
Find the Guide That’s Right for You
There are a lot of great apps that walk you through a variety of guided meditations of all sorts. Some are just meditation apps while others are mediation as well as sound makers that promote sleep and relaxation through calming sounds.
It may take a few tries to find the right app and guide to a meditation that will help your child relax and calm down for sleep.
Mantra meditation may sound foreign to many, but in reality it likely is the one you’re most familiar with. Mantra meditation is most often found in yoga class when everyone is calmly chanting “Om”.
Repeating “Om” isn’t the only form of mantra meditation. Any word or phrase can be part of a mediation and can help focus the mind, limiting distracting thoughts that may prevent sleep.
The Relaxing Word
When children are taking part in a mantra meditation, help your child find a word that they enjoy saying or find calming or relaxing. Once they’re comfortably lying in bed, have them focus on saying that word. Encourage them to focus on the sound of the word, how it feels to say the word with their mouth, or focus on the meaning of the word as they say it. This can help them calm down and relax towards sleep by clearing their mind from distracting thoughts that may keep them awake.
Meditate in Comfort Created for Kids
Whatever type of meditation you or your child finds most calming the best place to do them is in bed, especially a bed made just for a kid. We’ve engineered a thoughtful childrens mattress that’s actually made for children. Our mattress, while made for kids, is also made with parents in mind. Our kids mattress is waterproof which helps everyone get a better night’s sleep no matter what accident or spill happens on it.