When it comes to children and sleep, there are one most common concerns for parents. That is, how to get them to bed on time every night. Certainly, nearly every parent has had to deal with the difficulty of putting a child to bed at some point. And for many parents, bedtime is a recurring nightmare. Even so, it seems strange that kids require much more sleep than adults do. Yet, many resist going to sleep. Instead, they stay awake with the very last strength in their body. As a result, this can cause worry for both parents and children. Subsequently, it will always lead to poor sleep for everybody in the household.
So how do you get your kids to go to sleep early at night? And more importantly, how do you get them to do so every single night?
Sleep Meditation is the natural antidote to stress. Also, it neutralizes the sensory overload that children experience daily. That is to say, sleep meditation remedies the effect of the stress on children. Especially, those they experience daily due to school and homework. Moreover, it allows them to develop focus. On the other hand, sleep meditation regulates their own emotions. And, helps them pay attention thoroughly in any situation. Generally, meditation forms a sense of center and balance. Most of all, it helps to build resilience.
How Can Your Child Get Started with Meditation?
Children tend to have a higher spiritual connection. This is unlike adults who are prone to have a dominating ego and limiting beliefs. All as a result of years of layering and conditioning. Hence, with practice, children can quickly shut down their egos. Subsequently, they can easily connect to their inner self. And most noteworthy, they require guidance and teaching to do so.
However, you need to know how much sleep your child should be getting. As a result, based on your child’s age, they will require various amounts of sleep. More so, it is important to keep track of your children’s sleep habits. To clarify, know the total hours they sleep every day. In addition, check how many hours they sleep each night. And also, track their regular napping habits.
Thus, it is important to understand your child’s sleeping needs. Of course, this will help you set limitations and bedtime rules for your kids.
Are There Proven Guidelines for Calculating Your Child’s Sleep Duration?
Yes, children of different age groups sleep differently. Hence, getting them to sleep for long periods is almost impossible. Therefore, the need to add physical movements and mental visualizations in your child’s sleep routine. This works along with breathing techniques. Especially, to provide an effective way to get them to meditate.
Here Is a Generalized Guideline To How Much Sleep Your Child Needs Basing On Their Age:
Thus, know when best to introduce sleep meditation to your children.
1 TO 4 WEEKS OLD
New-borns sleeps approximately 16-17 hours a day. Although, this is with periods of wakefulness lasting 1-3 hours. Indeed, most new-borns have not developed a night/day sleep cycle. So, their periods of sleep and wakefulness can vary to all hours of the day. Therefore, most parents will have to adjust their sleep schedules to accommodate newborns.
1 TO 4 MONTHS OLD
Babies of this age still tend to sleep about the same amount of hours as new-borns. But, their night/day sleep cycles begin to kick in at this stage. Thus, allowing them to sleep longer at night. Although, they still wake for feedings and changes.
4 MONTHS TO 1 YEAR
Babies of this age still require between 14-15 hours of sleep every day. However, many of them can sleep through most of the night. Even more, they can take up to 3 naps during the day and evening. During this period, it is essential to begin to establish healthy sleep habits for your child.
1 TO 3 YEARS
Most toddlers need about 12-14 hours of sleep. However, often they get less due to the schedules of parents. And, on the other hand, older children in the house contributes. Hence, they will more than likely lose their early morning nap. Also, they may lose their early evening nap. Consequently, they tend only to take one nap a day.
3 TO 6 YEARS
Approximately 11-12 hours of sleep. Most of all, younger children of this group may still require a short nap during the day. But, the need to nap usually diminishes by the time they enter the first grade.
CHILDREN OF AGE 3-7 YEARS
For children in this age group, try the lotus breath. This connects to the breath and feelings. In addition, it is better to start the session off with fun activities that involve songs. Or likewise, discussions that will build up to the idea of focusing their attention on an imaginary lotus flower.
On the same note, instruct the children to make the lotus mudra (a kind formal symbolic body posturing). Hence, they can do this by touching their thumbs and little finger together to create a lotus. Then, take a deep breath and imagine the flower’s fragrance. Also, conceive how they feel after smelling it.
Even more, the session can proceed with questions about how they feel at that moment. Or, how their day was and what emotions went through them.
CHILDREN OF AGE 3-7 YEARS IN LOTUS MUDRA
You can effectively teach your children meditative breathing techniques after this age. Furthermore, once they master the balloon breath, you can as well introduce them to the more advanced Bear Breath.
This fabulous breathing technique relieves stress and anxiety. Above all, you can do it at any time during the day to feel calm and focused. Hence, the method involves breathing through the nose for 4 counts. That is to say, holding in the breath for 4 counts and releasing it for 4 counts through the nose.
7 TO 12 YEARS
Children of this age range tend to need about 10-12 hours of nightly sleep. However, often they only get about 9-10 hours.
13 TO 18 YEARS
Teens of this age require about 8-10 hours of sleep. But, they rarely get the full amount they need. This is mostly as a result of the demands of schoolwork and after-school programs. More so, various other activities often cut into their nightly sleep. After all, most teens report getting about 6-8 hours of sleep.
Tips to Keep in Mind When Teaching Kids Meditation
Begin with the Breath
The mind follows the breath. Thus, there can be no meditation without proper breathing. Therefore, it is vital to lay down a strong foundation for breathing techniques. Most of all, more meditation methods begin with the breath as an anchor. As a result, children who have proficiency in breathing techniques can meditate well.
Learn to Let Go
Not all kids can follow the instructions in full. Hence, they may not always respond in the way we expect them to. Therefore, tailor the meditation technique a little to better suit their personality.
For example, some children may not want to close their eyes. Do not force them to do so. However, you can give them something to look at as they sit in their meditative posture.
Put Imagination to Good Use
Giving them something peaceful, safe, and serene to imagine is an excellent guided meditation practice. Most of all, children are natural at constructive imagination. Consequently, there is no end to the fun things they can bring to a meditative session.
Children tend to be restless at the beginning of a meditative session. Therefore, it takes a while before they learn to settle down. Hence, let go and allow their energies to finding its balance. Moreover, there are plenty of approaches to mindfulness and meditation. Therefore, do not get attached to any.
Practice as You Preach
Meditate along with your children as you teach them. No doubt, it works better this way. Also, makes it a valuable experience in both ways.
Types of Meditation
One can employ several techniques to still the mind into a meditative state. However, some are specifically designed to be appealing to children. Thus, they are quite easy to do.
Guided meditation is a method that brings a visual component to breathing exercises. Most importantly, it stops the minds of children from wandering during meditation. Hence, keeping their minds focused.
This technique involves teaching children to visualize their abdomen like a balloon. Most especially, every time they inhale. Thus, they should imagine their belly expanding like a balloon. More so, letting the breath out is like letting the air out of the balloon. This may be harder to demonstrate to kids who are under the age of 6 as sitting still for long is not much fun.
Can There Be an Alternative Exercise to Ensure Long Sitting Hours?
Possibly, stretching out their arms out and overhead as they exhale and inhale. This can represent their imaginary balloon. Consequently, it will increase their sitting duration. Thereby, making them weak to fall asleep faster.
Follow the Leader
If your child has a big brother or a best bud that they look up to as a leader figure, this method can work great for sleep meditation. Moreover, in breathing meditation, the breath is the leader, and your child’s mind is the follower. And, the mind follows the leader to where he leads.
Your kid follows the breath as it goes inside and out. Subsequently, he counts the number of breaths at the end of every exhale. If the child is usually the leader, they can imagine themselves to be the breath and their best bud, their mind.
Guided Relaxation Practices
This is a great technique that people of all ages can use when stressed out or unable to sleep. Therefore, it involves systematically contracting and relaxing parts of the body while breathing slowly. Usually, in deep sync with the body.
For example, lie down comfortably and take a few deep cleansing breaths while you relax. Subsequently, focus the attention on one of the foot. Then, try to tense and squeeze it tight for two deep breaths. Afterward, Relax the foot immediately and feel the tension being released as you exhale slowly.
Repeat the same with the other foot. And, continue the process moving up the body at points such as the calf, knee, thighs, hips, till the head.
Meditation before a class such as mathematics can help students learn better and score higher grades. Therefore, just before the start of the class, students should sit in a relaxed position in their seats. Usually, with their hands on the desk, feet flat on the floor and the back straight. Then, they should relax their eyes and close it while they listen to a chant. Or, they can hum it themselves.
Techniques for practicing sleep meditation for kids
Make Bedtime a Routine
Creating a bedtime routine for children can take the stress out of the night for both the parents and the child. This is because kids crave and thrive on structure. Of course, it gives them a sense of safety and security.
Moreover, getting your child into a nightly bedtime routine helps them develop sleep associations that help prepare them for bedtime.
It is a good idea to begin the bedtime ritual with a wind-down period. This should begin 15-30 minutes before their actual bedtime routine begins. To clarify, the wind-down can include turning off the TV, playing relaxing music, dimming lights, talking softer, and even moving slower. Most of all, these subtle changes are cues that your child will pick up as signs that bedtime is approaching.
In addition, actual bedtime routines can comprise of many relaxing and sleep promoting activities. Here is a typical bedtime routine:
- A relaxing bath
- Putting on pajamas
- Brushing their teeth
- Storytime in bed
- Goodnight kisses
Indeed, you can alter the routine itself or change it entirely. However, do so depending on what you find works for your child’s individual needs. Note also, it is not so much the components of the routine that are important. But, the key consistency is what matters most.
Create an Ideal Sleeping Environment
Your child’s room should help promote sleep. As a result, it is best to keep their room dark, quiet, and calm. However, some children (especially the very young) want at least a little light in their room. Hence, a nightlight or a dim light is perfectly acceptable. But then, chances are they cannot sleep in silence. Or maybe, you want to drown out some of the noises from the rest of the house. You can use a noise machine or a fan to create a rhythmic, steady sound.
Keep Electronics Out of The Bedroom
Does it really affect a child’s sleeping meditation? Indeed, allowing TV’s and computers in their rooms provides them with possible distractions that you would not be able to control. especially once you are out of the room.
How Is It Achievable?
Turn off all electronics. And, remove televisions, computers, games, and other electronic devices from their rooms. These devices promote wakefulness through stimulating contents. Also, the light emitting from them mimics daylight. Consequently, it tricks the brain into thinking it needs to stay awake. Therefore, Electronics should be turned off or taken away at least an hour before bedtime.
Make Sure They Get Regular Exercise
It is essential that your children get plenty of exercise during the day. This will help them wind down quicker at night. However, keep their last playtime at least 3 hours before bedtime. Otherwise, they may still be too stimulated for sleep.
Avoid Giving Them Stimulants Before Bedtime
Caffeine is a stimulant and not very good for children. However, if you do allow your child the occasional soft drink, make sure that they do not have any drinks within 3 hours of bedtime. Especially, those containing sugar and caffeine.
Snacks are perfectly acceptable before bedtime. But, this is as long as they are healthy and not very filling. On the other hand, if your child asks for food or drink before bedtime give them a warm glass of milk. Or maybe any light, healthy snack such as fruit or crackers.
Check For Sleep Disorders
If after establishing a consistent bedtime routine and made adjustments to fit your child’s individual needs, yet, they are still having difficulties with sleeping. Then, your child may have a sleep disorder.
Keep a close eye on both your child’s night-time sleeping behaviors and patterns. Also, take note of how they function during the day. That is to say, check if they show signs of chronic tiredness during the day. Or, if they have difficulty concentrating on homework. And, of course, check also for any behavioral problems at home or school. Any of these could be a sign of an underlying sleep disorder.
If you suspect that your child may have a sleep disorder, talk with your child’s pediatrician. Hence, talk about their sleep habits. Or better, schedule an appointment with a sleep specialist for proper diagnosis.
Benefits of Meditation for Kids
Ideally, hundreds of studies on sleep meditation conducted over the years show positive health benefits. For instance, such benefits as improvement in emotional intelligence, brain functioning, psychological development and more. Above all, for a more in-depth understanding, its benefits can be understood at levels such as:
Meditation and focused attention help children to better explore their minds and come up with new ideas. As a result, their memory also improves. This can lead to better performance and grades in school. In addition, it reduces anxiety and their need to be continuously entertained. Even more, it allows them to slow down and analyze themselves which prevents addictive tendencies.
Meditation helps develop more positive emotions. Also, it helps for better control over the negative ones. As a result, children learn to appreciate their surroundings. And, what they have, with a generally positive outlook on life. They also tend to become kinder and affectionate towards others. Thus, building a more exceptional ability to love. On the other hand, their higher emotional intelligence leads to more confidence and happiness.
The relaxing effects of meditation help children to sleep well. Hence, the results are right concentration, a stronger immune system, and a healthily functioning body.
Sleep meditation for kids is a joint journey for both parents and their kids. Note that, it is important to teach meditation at a young age. This is because it can help children deal with stress. Above all, they will better manage their emotions and grow up to live healthier lives.
Guided meditation can be beneficial not just for sleep. But, can also help children develop a positive lifestyle amid distractions. Most of all, these techniques are not dangerous in any way. But, were highly researched to save you the stress of constant distraction from your kids. Especially, when your kids should be sleeping.
As we have educated you. Kindly ensure consistent practice, and spread the good news about Buddhism zone.
To your success!