Many children encounter difficulty in getting to sleep or even in settling into bed at night.
Here are some tips to support children at bedtime.
Try not to put too much focus on bedtime, as it can aggravate the anxiety. Instead, at other times during the day, practice letting yourself and your family feel ease. It might be extra long snuggles before leaving the house, or taking three breaths together - or the ’starfish’ practice.
Reassure and encourage your child that this is very normal - most of us have trouble relaxing or sleeping at some point in our life. Children often feel self-critical or a little ashamed when they can’t get to sleep, so be very clear about how okay this is.
Invite your child to connect with their body at other times during the day: from enjoying tasty food to dancing to our favourite song. By giving our body more positive attention, we let our body learn to trust that we care deeply for it. Over time we can give it tasters of ease during the day, and it will start to trust that when we intentionally rest, it is okay to rest. That will seep in to help soothe the bedtime anxiety; the child has resources that they know help to ease them.
With the following guided meditation, you can encourage your child to explore the ‘superlove’ that they feel in their heart: the colour, feeling, warmth of that love. If they’re missing you at nighttime, take time with them to really imagine your love beaming straight to their heart and then enveloping them with snuggles and love. You could do this together during the daytime, and then draw your love beaming into them at night. Their imagination can also be a great resource for them.
I hope this brings deep acceptance and much ease to bedtime.