3 Breathing Exercises to Help Kids Sleep
If you're a mindful parent, you've realized that kids' meditations for sleep are tricky. How do you keep kids' attention on guided meditation, while still helping them fall asleep? I've found that focusing on the breath helps kids relax, while also holding their focus.
We use the following visualizations and breathing exercises in our SEL curriculum, but you can use them at home to help kids sleep.
Let's break down the following mindfulness techniques so that you can use them at home with your kids.
1. Candle Breath
Candle Breath is a breathing activity that uses visualization to relax the mind. It is a perfect exercise to calm kids down because it can be done in bed. Here's how it works.
Imagine you are holding a candle in your hands. Breathe out slowly to make the candle flame wiggle but do not blow out the flame yet. Now breathe in slowly.
Continue breathing out slowly to make the flame. of your candle move but be careful not to blow it out completely. And breathe in slowly.
Continue this for two more breaths. On your last breath, take a deep breath in, make a wish silently in your mind, and blow out your candle.
If you like this meditation, play the full recording for your kids at bedtime.
2. Tic-Toc Breath
The tic-tok breath is a great activity for kids that aren't quite ready to go to sleep. When children (or grown-ups) have the wiggles, it can be hard to settle down for bed. This meditation moves the body so that kids can eventually find stillness and get some rest.
Begin standing or sitting in a chair. Take a breath in and start to sit in a tall, mindful body with your spine straight, your hands at your sides, and your feet on the ground.
In your mindful body, gently rock from side to side like the tic-toc of a clock. Repeat after me while moving back and forth:
- "Like a clock"
- "Don't Stop"
- "Until You Find"
- "Your Balance"
Try that a couple more times. Once balanced in the center, take three deep breaths.
3. Flower Breath
Flower breath combines visualization and breathing to help kids calm down. Using the senses grounds children in the present moment, so that they can let go of their days and fall asleep.
Imagine you are holding a flower in your hands. Think about what color your flower is. Think about what kind it is. Is it a rose, daffodil, or a daisy? It can be any kind of flower you wish.
Now, breathe in through the nose as you smell your flower. When you are ready, breathe out of your mouth, trying to move the flower petals. Continue to breathe in through your nose, smelling the flower. Breath out your mouth as you softly blow the petals.
Take one more breath in and out until you can breathe normally and relax.
If you and your child like this meditation, play the recording for them as they go to sleep:
Teach Mindful Breathing to Kids
The above breathing exercises are some quick meditations for kids that will help them get to sleep. But breathing and meditation aren't just useful for sleep! We've collected a bunch of techniques that use the breath to help kids handle anger, let go of sadness, and more. Look at our full lesson plan for more information.