Content of the material
Sleep is Essential for Children
Yes, getting a good night’s sleep is essential, so teaching our kids great wake & sleep patterns will benefit your child greatly. It will help their physical health, emotional health, and mental health.
Getting enough sleep = healthier child… better ability to stay focused, happier children… there are so many benefits to getting enough sleep. If a child wakes in the middle of the night or too early in the morning, it can cause your child to be tired, foggy, and grumpy in the day.
We have four kids and let me tell you; our kids had started waking up EARLY! Two of our kids were very early risers and I just wanted them to sleep longer so they could have the rest they needed. They were exhausted from the minute that they woke up, yet they were still waking up early.
Once I taught them how to sleep long enough to get the rest that they needed, they felt better.
How to help your child begin to change their body clock
To help our kids learn good sleep habits, we came up with this idea, and I have shared it with friends and family, and they do it, too.
We finally figured out a way to keep our kids in bed longer (giving them the chance to get enough sleep for their bodies and minds)
This idea is to naturally set our children’s internal clocks to a time that is more suiting to their schedule (with preschool and grade school). It allows their bodies to sleep until it is time to wake up.
Soothing Uncomfortable Feelings
This meditation focuses on the connection between emotions and sensations in the body and aims to relax areas of tension as a way of providing comfort for oneself. However, paying closer attention to difficult emotions or painful sensations in the body might intensify these feelings. When this is the case, many people find it helpful to instead pay attention to elements outside the body using a mindful seeing or hearing meditation. (Occasionally, a difficult life situation might even require a break from meditation practice altogether.) As always, it’s important to notice when practices are feeling counterproductive, without judging one’s reaction. The same meditation might help one person and not another, and similarly, it might have one effect at one time and another at a different time in the same person. We need to be especially nonjudgmental, open, and flexible with children (and ourselves) when experiencing uncomfortable feelings.
Note: The “clothing visualization” is my adaptation of an ideokinetic technique developed by Lulu E. Sweigard, “The Empty Suit.” (Lulu E. Sweigard, Human Movement Potential, Allegro Editions, 1974, P. 232.)
Make Sleep a Priority
The Total Transformation also recommends that parents institute an earlier bedtime. You might tell your child: “You seem to have a hard time getting up in the morning, which tells me you aren’t getting enough sleep. You need to be up by 7 am on school days. As of today, we are moving your bedtime back to 10 pm on school nights. Once you have shown us that you can get up on time for five days in a row, we’d be happy to move your bedtime back to 11 pm.” If your child does not get up on time, simply state: “I know you want a later bedtime. You’ll have to figure out how to get yourself up on time in order to have that privilege.”
Because of the biological drives I mentioned earlier, it may be hard for your adolescent to go to sleep before 11 p.m. Going to bed by 10 is going to be a little “uncomfortable” for your child. In time, the discomfort and annoyance of having to get into bed with the lights out and no electronics may motivate him or her to get out of bed on time in the morning. Once your child has gotten up on their own for five days in a row, you can change their bedtime to a later hour. If they begin to oversleep again, change it back to 10 pm until they improve.
Your practice comes first
In the long term, I believe the most important thing you can do to maintain a child’s interest in meditation is to model it. I recommend letting your children witness, or at least be aware of, your regular practice. From time to time, talk about how meditation benefits you or what you find interesting about it—especially when it’s relevant to something that comes up in your lives. You can also try meditating for a few minutes in a room where your children are engaged in another activity. Set a timer and let them know that you’re going to sit and meditate for five minutes while they play or read. Every once in a while, they might surprise you by asking questions about what you’re doing—or even sit down and join you! But whether or not they do, seeing the adults in their lives practicing meditation has a great impact on children.
3. Use Upbeat Music to Create a Fun Atmosphere in the Mornings
I like to turn on fun, upbeat music in the morning and have noticed a big increase in happier moods, and less grumpy ones. When the kids come downstairs and hear Kid Bop or fun, positive and dance music, their moods are instantly uplifted.
I usually start the volume low as they gradually rise and increase the volume once the kids are fully up and getting dressed.
I keep our Alexa Echo on the kitchen counter which surprisingly, has great speaker strength and is synched to my Amazon account which means it plays any music I ask it to as well as Kid’s music stations.
We’re never on short-supply for fun, upbeat music in the mornings!
Maybe, the Noises?
I asked everyone I knew for advice on how to get him to sleep longer. My mother-in-law suggested a white noise machine. It worked for my husband so it might work for my son as well.
We brought this humidifier into his room and cranked it on. The white noise gave us the needed cover to sneak out of his bedroom as he fell asleep each night. It muffled every bump and jostle as we tip-toed out of his room at bedtime.
Did he sleep any longer because of it? No… unfortunately not.
Lol. I’m a soon to be dad, and I to will miss sleeping in. But also like you, it will be good for me to get out of bed and do work.