When your child is in bed with their favourite animal hottie, guide them through any of these exercises.
Breathing for sleep
- Lie on your back and relax your arms by your side. Start by taking a slow, deep breath from the stomach. Now, when you feel that you have raised your stomach as far as possible, inflate your ribs and allow more air to move into this section. When your ribs cannot expand any further, raise the collarbones to allow a little more air to enter. Now exhale slowly through your mouth like you’re blowing out a candle. Try and complete three more breathes like this.
- Ask your child to stay still for a few moments and as they breathe in say to themselves ‘I am peaceful’ or ‘I am confident’ and as they breath out, they say to themselves ‘Safe’ or ‘Calm’. As they practice this, stroke your child’s face or circle their palm in a clockwise direction with your thumb.
Imagery for sleep
Imagine you are blowing bubbles of peace or happiness or love into the room. Take in a breath and imagine you have a pot of bubble liquid. Slowly and gently blow bubbles into the room. As you blow out the bubbles, imagine they are filled with peace and the whole room is filling up with peace.
Close your eyes, be very still and imagine that you are holding a big balloon. It is very light. It feels very smooth. The balloon is in your favourite colour. Now hold the bottom of your balloon, and feel the balloon gently rising into the sky. Each time you breathe in and out, you gently glide further and further into the warm summer sky. The deeper your breath is, the further you can travel. Enjoy this feeling of weightlessness. Enjoy the feeling of being completely free. Your body feels weightless and free and your mind feels totally free. (extract from Nature CD and Relax and Dream DVD, Relax for Kids)
Lie down on your back with your legs and arms apart. Stay very still and imagine you are a sleepy starfish resting at the bottom of the ocean. Breathe in and as you breathe out, relax your arms. Breathe in and as you breathe out, relax your legs, breathe in and as you breathe out, relax your head. See how still you can be at the bottom of the ocean, resting like a sleepy starfish. Repeat to yourself ‘I am silent, I am silent’.
www.relaxkids.com (loads of resources plus CDs).
Make up a Bach Flower Remedy for your child. The child is to have 4 drops x 3 times daily under the tongue. They can take the remedy during the night if necessary. Fill up a 10 or 20ml dropper bottle which you can buy from the chemist with cold tap water, leaving a little space at the top. Choose up to 4 remedies from the following and put 2 drops of each into the dropper bottle:
- Mimulus (fear of being alone)
- Walnut (change e.g. starting nursery or school)
- Rock Rose (nightmares)
- White Chestnut (constant thoughts)
- Aspen (night terrors)
- Chicory (demanding attention)