I recently renewed my Headspace subscription. For those of you not familiar with Headspace, it’s a brilliant mindfulness and meditation app (not sponsored by the way – I just love it). I hadn’t used Headspace for well over a year, and I was delighted to notice that there is now section of meditations for children.
So now every evening, before Frida goes to sleep, we have been listening to a simple children’s sleep meditation. We go through her usual bedtime routine, then once she is ready for bed and she is sufficiently wound down I lie with her (either in our bed whilst Frida lies in hers – we still room share – or together in our bed) and play the meditation on my phone. It is a simple guided routine of imagining a magic feather is touching each part of your body and helping it to go to sleep. She usually listens quietly to it and then goes to sleep shortly after it has finished. Our bedtime routines change often, along with Frida’s needs, but at the moment finishing the day with five minutes of mediation is working really well for us.
Previously, I have made up my own gentle guided meditations for Frida at bedtime, talking her through all the parts of her body going to sleep or pretending to slowly sprinkle “sleepy dust” all over her from her toes upwards. I have found visualisations a powerful way to help her wind down before sleep, for example slowly describing a walk we do often, or a process she knows well (a few nights ago I spent a long time quietly talking her through making banana pancakes, step-by-step). I also find talking through her day from start to finish is a good way of bringing calm.
Headspace has a number of dedicated meditations for children, split into different age categories: under five, six to eight, and nine to twelve. You can select length too; one minute, three minutes, or five minutes. We have been listening to five minute recordings which work well, especially for going to sleep. We have also been listening to the kindness and happiness meditations which are very lovely, though Frida needs to be in the right mood, ie. wound down and calm. I really hope we can build a regular meditation practice together which will only get deeper as she gets older. I believe it’s never really too young to start!
I’ve really been enjoying listening to these meditations with Frida, and am going to look for more similar meditations to try out with her – there seem to be a number of free children’s sleep meditation recordings on YouTube for example, which I need to set some time aside to listen to. There are also some lovely looking books such as Nightlights and Sitting Still Like a Frog which I will probably explore soon.
If you’re interested in working mindfulness or meditation into your child’s life, you might enjoy a post I wrote last year on mindfulness for toddlers, giving three simple suggestions for ways to reconnect and calm when emotions are running high and children are overtired.
Do you practice mindfulness or meditation with your child? If so, what resources do you recommend? I would love links to books, audio, or any ideas you have!