It’s school holidays in my part of the world and if you’ve been reading my recent blog posts you’ll know I recognise that a change in routine can be unsettling as well excitement inducing – not a great combination for calm bedtimes for young ones! With that in mind, we’ve created the 'Seven-day Challenge for Calm Nights' centred around activities that can help bring your kids back to a more balanced place, one that is calmer and less exciting and readier for a good night’s sleep. They are designed to focus minds in the present moment – a mindful progression to calmness and a better night’s sleep!
Of course, it’s also perfect to use these experiences regularly – not just when we are out of routine. They can become part of establishing a routine for bedtime if that hasn’t been a big part of your household. Children need routine in their lives to help them feel secure and untroubled and the bed-time routine is one of the most important for a calm transition from the day’s busyness to a state of relaxation. As adults we can recognise this in our own lives – trying to sleep while we are still investing in our thoughts and worries does not a great night’s sleep make! Children, who these days lead busy lives themselves are also vulnerable to poor sleep and need to be encouraged to let go of the day’s activities to prepare for sleeping! Good sleep is one of life’s greatest gifts!
Here are a couple of tried and true things to start your routine – a bed time story (nothing too exciting)- we would, of course, recommend our book Making Mindful Magic (available here), a simple lullaby and hugs and kisses (of course) were favourites in my household! I created this lullaby to use with my own children when they were young.
Lullaby and goodnight
You are Mummy’s little darling
Close your eyes and goodnight
And I’ll see you
In the morning
I’ve recently become acquainted with a couple of inspiring young women (www.thegoodnightco.com) who are making it their mission to improve quality of sleep. They have just launched into improving children’s sleeping and now have available a beautiful box called, Mind Time Kids in which they are using chakra clearing as a tool for helping kids get a better night’s sleep!
We’ll be posting daily for the next seven days on our Instagram and Facebook pages an experience a day to promote calmer nights. Join us and Give these experiences a try and keep the ones that resonate with your family and build them into your night-time routine!
You can modify this challenge any way you choose of course and use it over and over by finding different versions of the experience – eg changing the music used for listening or the mandala for colouring - it’s easy! You can incorporate any into a regular night-time routine – for holidays and any days! Enjoy, relax and sleep well!
Resources for the Seven-day Challenge for Calm Nights
DAY TWO: Listen to our 'Go Walking in Nature' Guided Mediation
DAY FOUR: Listen to Rolling Waves
DAY FIVE: Colour a Mandela
We love this description by Cat Hawkins about the benefits of colouring a mandala. http://shaktimandala.co.uk/mandalabenefits/
DAY SIX: Immerse in calming music
Classical music that is slow and rhythmical www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAqLStH6E6s
Acoustic guitar music www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGP6aJ4PBbo
Marconi Union's 8 minute trance-inducing tune, “Weightless” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfcAVejslrU
Any lullaby www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYvyCkMZ_FY
DAY SEVEN: Alanna’s bedtime routine
Alanna recommends these poses be done in this sequence with gentle slow breathing, for a few minutes each for children and up to 10-15 minutes for adults (great bedtime routine for everyone)!
Begin by kneeling then drop the bottom back to your heels as you stretch the rest of your body down to the floor and forward, arms outstretched with head on the floor.
Cat Cow Pose
Begin on all fours. Inhale as the belly is dropped and look up, raising your tail bone upwards(Cow). Exhale as the chin is tucked to the chest and the mid-back raised to the sky with your tailbone under (Cat). Continue these positions with a neutral spine between the movements.
Standing Forward Pose
Start by standing with the feet together. Bend forward from the hips, not the lower back, bending the knees enough to allow the palms to press flat on the floor with the head touching the knees, if possible. To end, bend the knees keeping the back straight, the arms out to the sides and move up back into standing.
Legs up the Wall
Start by sitting with your left side against the wall. Turn your body to the left and bring your legs up onto the wall. Lower your back to the floor and lie down. Move your bottom close to the wall. Your arms rest by your sides, palms facing up.
Happy Baby Pose
Lie on your back with both knees into your chest and put arms through the inside of the knees. Hold onto the outside edge of each foot. Tuck the chin into the chest and head on the floor. Press the tailbone down into the floor and push the heels up and pull back with the arms. Press the shoulders and the back of the neck down into the floor, trying to get the back and whole spine flat to the floor.
Lie on your back, arms and legs open. Close the eyes, and take slow deep breaths through the nose. Allow your whole body to become soft and relaxed. To finish slowly move up to a seated position.