Once they get the hang of it, many children love to meditate with their parents. However, practicing together requires that your child is willing to sit still in one place for at least a few minutes.
If even this short amount of time is just too much for your high-energy child of a bedtime mindfulness routine could be ideal. And even if you are able to practice with your child during the day, you and your child will find a nighttime practice very soothing and relaxing, leading to sound sleep.
Begin by visualizing your child adopting a mindful nighttime routine, with gentle yet deliberate movements, serene and happy as you could imagine an experienced meditator or monk. You might want to note down the series of steps so that the process consistent. Here are some steps and habits you might like to include.
Make the evening winding down time purposefully quieter and quieter. Once homework and dinner are done, and perhaps your child is playing, start dimming the lights and speaking in a quieter voice. Reduce other noise in the house – TV, computers, etc – gradually as the evening wears on.
Aromatherapy scents are a good aid to meditation and sleep. Buy only pure essential oils that your child likes (you can test the scents together; many natural food stores have aromatherapy kiosks with tester bottles).
If your child takes an evening bath or shower, set a bath time that is not too close to bedtime so that you have some time for practice. If your child bathes in the morning, your child can wash face, hands, and feet before bed.
Do you both enjoy a hot drink before bed or a small, healthy snack? Make this beloved tradition
a part of mindfully winding down. Sip slowly, preferably with the TV off, but with some soothing sounds to relax both of you. These could be recordings of quiet nature sounds, soothing classical or traditional instrumental pieces, and other recordings meant to accompany meditation.
Provide your child a good role model slow, deliberate walking, sitting straight and moving slowly yet deliberately. For example, after the hot drink, the two of you can wash your cups, dry and put them away, clean the table where you were sitting, and then hand the dish towel to dry, but all of these actions would be slow and mindful. Notice how you are hanging the towel evenly over the rack, or how you put the cups in the cupboard neatly with little noise.
After brushing – and mindfully putting away toothbrush and tidying up the sink – accompany your child to his or her room. Let your child put slippers and robe away carefully and neatly. Perhaps they can set out tomorrow’s clothes, making a tidy stack that includes matching socks!
Meditation while lying down can be challenging because many of us tend to fall asleep instead of meditating – which is perfect for your child now.
You can put on a guided meditation CD if you’d like to try one, but if possible guide your child with your own loving voice. Let your child rest comfortably on his back or side. You might say something like this. (slowly, with pauses).
Let go of the day and let your body rest and relax. Imagine you are on a soft cloud, sinking deeper and deeper. Feel your toes and fingers get loose and relaxed. Your arms and legs are sinking deeper and deeper. Now the rest of your body in sinking, sinking into the soft cloud. Deeper and deeper. You are so relaxed. Imagine you can see your breath …in…and out…in…and out… (as you continue to count your child will probably fall asleep within minutes).