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Meditation for Sleep: A Calming Oasis for Children with Anxiety

Meditation is powerful. Meditation practiced for sleep is incredibly powerful, especially for the increasing number of children suffering from anxiety! 

I have felt the power of this type of meditation in my own body, and I have seen the peace it offers my yoga students (of all ages) and my own young children! But why meditation specifically? Well, for anxious children, once the lights go out and the silence begins, their minds become full of thoughts and worries. They want to sleep, they try to sleep, but unfortunately, they end up tossing and turning for an hour or more. Even having a parent lay down with them and massage their back offers little comfort when their minds are so chaotic. 

So instead of driving yourself (and your child) crazy, teach them the power of meditation for sleep! Here are a few options to help introduce this powerful practice to your child. You can also suggest this practice to your clients if you are a yoga teacher! 

Option 1: Visualizations 

  1. Turn the lights out in the bedroom but leave on a bright nightlight to alleviate any fears.
  2. Have the child sit in Easy pose on the bed and do 3 Oms and 5 “peace begins with me” mantras (using finger touches). The first “peace begins with me” mantra should be loudest, while the last should be completely silent. This slow decrease in volume helps the child to realize that their mind should be seeking stillness and turning inward. It works surprisingly well and if you make it a nightly routine, they quickly adjust and learn to love it! 
  3. Have the child lay back in the bed and close their eyes.
  4. Ask the child to tighten every muscle in their body (even their faces, even their fists) and then release all of those muscles at once.
  5. Finally, using a cell phone, listen to a guided meditation (I like these children’s sleep meditations). It is best to turn the phone upside down on a nightstand so no light from the phone disturbs the child. These meditations are about 20-24 minutes, and the child will likely be asleep before the meditation ends. The calm and serene feeling will follow them into the next morning! 

Option 2: Magic Worry Bubbles 

  1. Turn the lights out in the bedroom but leave on a bright nightlight to alleviate any fears.
  2. Sit in Easy pose on the bed and do 3 Oms and 5 “peace begins with me” mantras using fingers.
  3. Have the child lay back in the bed and breath in through their nose and out through their mouth (ocean breath) 10-20 times. 
  4. Tighten and release muscles two times.
  5. Finally, using a cell phone, listen to the Magic Bubble Meditation. This meditation is great for children who have a lot of worries on their minds. It is best to turn the phone upside down on a nightstand so no light from the phone disturbs the child.
  6. When the Magic Bubble Meditation is complete, play a rainstorm or other soothing sleep sounds that will allow the child to hold on to that peaceful, safe feeling they have conjured.

Option 3: Create Your Own Relaxing Visualization!

  1. Create your own relaxing visualization and guide the child through it! It’s super easy. No script necessary! Just begin something like this: 

Close your eyes and take a deep breath and then another. You feel peaceful and relaxed lying here in this comfortable bed. You feel safe and warm. Your whole body is limp and loosey-goosey. It would be difficult to open your eyes or speak even if you really wanted to… but you don’t want to! 

Now imagine that you see a twinkling blue light floating right above your bed. The light is so pretty that it makes you smile. When you look closely though, you realize that it’s not a light at all. Not really. It’s a tiny fairy! 

“Would you like to come with me to visit fairyland?” She asks.

“Oh, yes!” You say.

“Just think about happy things. Happy thoughts will get us there twice as fast!” She giggles. “Think about bubbles and puppies and kittens and cupcakes. Butterflies and puddles and kisses and snowflakes.”

She smiles brightly and sprinkles you in blue dust. Up, up you go… floating into the air above your bed and then right out an open window. You are not at all scared. You feel peaceful and excited as you look down at the street lights, the trees, and the fields.  

Do you see the stars glittering in the dark night sky? What color are they? What can you hear? There’s no need to open your mouth, just see it in your mind….

YOU CREATE THE REST. IT CAN BE WHATEVER YOU WANT! (Just make sure to keep it safe and peaceful.)

Remember, no matter how you choose to introduce a child to meditation for sleep, it is a worthwhile endeavor that has the power to change their lives forever! Scientists are constantly discovering new and valuable benefits to this ancient practice, including better mental health and better grades in school. So let’s start right now teaching every child how to harness the power of their minds– even as they are drifting off to sleep. 

For more about finding your way through anxiety with the help of yoga and mindfulness, check out our podcast:

Like what you read here? There’s so much MORE to explore and learn with Kidding Around Yoga. Check out our website for ouWer live and online teacher trainings, Yoga Alliance-approved 95-hour RCYT trainings, specialty online courses, original music, merchandise, and beyond!  KAY even offers a 6-hour workshop designed to teach school educators and homeschool families how to bring yoga and meditation right into their classrooms (EduKAYand an online course specifically for families to incorporate these practices into their family’s routine (KAY in the Home).


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