Inspire Relaxation Before Your Child's Bedtime

Unwinding and relaxing can be a challenge for anyone, especially as we continue to live in a noisy loud world dominated by technology and distractions. If you want to create a calm environment from this fast paced world it’s time to create some new habits that help you and your family eliminate external and internal noise. It is possible to make bedtime a positive experience for everyone in the family. Read on for ideas on how to inspire relaxation in your home!

1. Bye Bye Technology

Start with the basics and say goodbye to technology! Silence your phones and turn off your tvs at least 2 hours before bedtime. Life can be hard and zoning out and “relaxing” in front of the tv can often seem like the easy answer to things. Instead check-in and be completely present with your family for these last moments of the day. If there’s a screen in the bedroom now is the best time to find its new home. Screen time too often cuts into the time that we would normally be preparing for bed and can delay the onset of sleep.  

2. Bedtime Bath Time

If bath time is already a common ritual before bed, keep it up! Soaking in warm water helps soothe your muscles and can improve circulation around the body and to the extremities. There are also studies that indicate that submergence in water can reduce pain and inflammation which calms the nervous system and reduces our levels of stress and anxiety. Do not underestimate the restorative power of bath time!

3. Grateful Hearts Rest Better

This is a bold statement but I believe it with every bone in my body; Gratitude makes EVERYTHING better. It makes life feel easier. Whether you had a terribly difficult or fantastically energetic day make time to celebrate both the small and big things. Gratitude taps into our creativity and makes us kinder and more compassionate humans. It inevitably transforms us into happier, more positive people. Science tells us that gratitude has a profound and transformative impact on our health, happiness, energy levels, and longevity. Fortunately there is no age too young to begin this practice. Every evening before bed take time for every member of the family to share gratitude for 1 to 3 things. This helps you end the day focusing on the small successes.

4. Breathe.

One of the very best ways to bring the body into the parasympathic nervous system, its relaxed state, is to breathe. Breathing is the most accessible tool we have as humans and we often take it for granted. Changing our breath changes our brain and helps us create new neuro pathways. Deep breathing helps us to release stress and feel calmer and more relaxed. A simple experience to calm both the overworked mind and the nervous system is to take at least 9 timed breaths attempting to elongate the exhale on each round. When the exhale is longer than the inhale the vagus nerve that runs from the neck to the diaphragm sends a signal to the brain to turn down the sympathic nervous system and turn up the parasympathetic system. Gather the family, set a timer (3 minutes is a good starting point), and have everyone either lie down or sit in a comfortable position. Breathe in for 4 counts, breathe out for 5. Continue this until the timer goes off.

5. Lavender Storytime

For many families story time is the final transition before bedtime so set it up to be the most relaxing part of the day! After teeth have been brushed and everyone is cozy in their pajamas, grab some lavender essential oil, books, blankets, and pillows. Lavender helps slow the activity of the nervous system inducing a feeling of calm in the body. You may not want to directly apply the lavender to skin so come prepared. Grab an 8 ounce glass container and fill it with a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil or grapeseed oil then add 2-4 drops of lavender to the jar. Before your nightly storytime dip your fingers in the jar and apply a few drops to the bottom of small feet, up and down along the spine, and behind little ears.

6. Tappity Tap Tap

Just like acupuncture and acupressure are techniques that utilize the body’s energy meridian points, tapping using just your fingertips can also stimulate these points. Not only is it literally tapping into your body’s own energy but it has a wildly calming effect on the mind and body. Some studies have shown that tapping can have significant impacts on cortisol reduction in the body. Cortisol is the corrosive and dangerous stress produced hormone. If you are a family of worriers this is a must try for you. Here’s how to get started. As you are completing the tucking in process have your child lay on their back. Together take 3 big deep breaths. Then using your pointer and middle finger gently tap on the brows and around & under the eyes. As you are tapping try saying these affirmations asking your child to quietly repeat them out loud or in their mind, “I am relaxed. My body is calm. I let go of my worries. I am loved. I am supported.”


Rest Well Little Ones.


Elissa Cirignotta is a writer, teacher, world traveler, and change maker. She holds a BA in Special Education and graduated Summa Cum Laude from George Mason University with a Masters of Arts in Teaching and an emphasis in Educational Reform. She holds a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training, Barre, & Autism Consultant Certifications. She founded Happy Mindful People to provide kids, teens, educators, and parents with the tools and support they need to inspire healthy personal changes and find more joy in the day to day.

Author
Elissa Cirignotta BA in Special Education and Masters of Arts in Teaching with an emphasis in Educational Reform. Yoga teacher at Bluebird Integrative Pediatrics

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