Monday, January 30, 2017

A simple bedtime relaxation script for children

My kids are all night owls, which means they tend to gain energy as bedtime approaches. To help them calm their bodies and minds, I started a simple nighttime relaxation technique with the older two. My nine-year-old appreciates it the most and will ask for it nearly every night. Mikko and I both have the characteristic of needing a looong time to fall asleep, and he can get anxious about it. This sort of relaxation time helps put him at ease.

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If you already have a background of relaxation scripts, you can adapt ones you love. I called upon my own childhood, when my parents offered me some simple relaxation ideas when I kept stealing into their room each night to whisper that I couldn't fall asleep, and my experiences with Hypnobabies childbirth hypnosis, which helped me through three unmedicated births.

Have your child lie down and begin in a calm, soothing voice:

Squeeze your toes … and your feet … and your legs … all the way up to your bottom [or whatever word you use; we're a butt family].

Have them practice isolating each muscle in turn. Mikko has coordination difficulties so at first had to use his hands to assist him in highlighting each body part to contract; however a kid needs to do it is fine.

Scrunch, scrunch, scruuuunch … aaaand … relax.

You can hold these beats for as long as it makes sense to you. I do it along with the kids, so I can feel when my muscles are stretched and just fatigued enough that releasing them will feel really good.

Thank you, legs and feet, for carrying me today to [name places your child went — the zoo, school, swinging on the playground]. Tomorrow we'll go to [tomorrow's planned outings — walk with Grandma, jump on the trampoline], but now it's time to sleep. Good night, legs and feet.

Now squeeze your tummy … and your chest … and your back.

Scrunch, scrunch, scruuuunch … aaaand … relax.

Thank you, middle, for supporting me and keeping me healthy and strong. Good night, middle.

Squeeze your shoulders … and your arms … and your hands and fingers.

Scrunch, scrunch, scruuuunch … aaaand … relax.

Thank you, arms and hands, for [something manual your child did that day — learning to braid hair, playing a board game, drawing a picture]. Tomorrow we'll [something planned — stack blocks, build Legos], but now it's time to sleep. Good night, arms and hands.

Now squeeze your neck … and your face … and your head.

Scrunch, scrunch, scruuuunch … aaaand … relax.

Thank you, face, for seeing and hearing, tasting and smelling. Thank you for [fill in optional fun things your child used senses on today — hearing Auntie laugh, tasting zucchini bread]. Thank you, mind, for [a mental challenge accomplished — figuring out the next level in a game, reading a good book, putting together a puzzle]. We'll have lots more adventures tomorrow, but now it's time to dream. Good night, mind. Good night, head. Good night, body. Good night.

You can shorten the script if needed by taking out the sections where you thank the body parts and just do the physical relaxing of the muscles and then say good night to each part. You can also lengthen the script for a child who needs more time relaxing by separating out each body part instead of handling them in groups.

Hope this helps you and yours have pleasant dreams!


Shelbey said...

I really like this idea! Thanks for sharing. I think my 3 year old would like it.

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