Sleep plays an important role in a child’s optimal development and wellness. Unfortunately, studies from the National Sleep Foundation show that 69% of children aren’t getting enough sleep. Sleep deprivation in children can cause a variety of problems, including difficulty in controlling emotions or lethargy in small children. This is where bedtime yoga for kids comes in.
Benefits of Bedtime Yoga for Kids
Contrary to popular belief, yoga isn’t just a practice for adults. Anyone of any age can start doing yoga and benefit from it, including young children. Act as a positive role model and perform the bedtime yoga poses with your child. Here are a couple of ways bedtime yoga can benefit your kids:
It helps children manage emotions and anxieties.
Children may have a particularly challenging time controlling their feelings, most often because they can’t understand the full spectrum of their emotions just yet.
The breathing exercises and relaxation techniques taught in bedtime yoga can help ease their anxiety and teach them how to better modulate their feelings. Furthermore, it can teach them how to be more present in their experiences, which can also improve their emotional regulation as they calm their bodies for bedtime.
It improves a child’s body awareness and mindfulness.
The movements and poses involved in bedtime yoga help improve your little one’s body awareness and mindfulness. By performing different bedtime yoga positions, your child will be able to slowly discover and test her body’s limits.
Additionally, bedtime yoga can act as a physical outlet for children to express themselves, which can help pacify impulsive behavior and teach them to be more self-disciplined.
It helps improve self-esteem.
Perfecting a pose, especially one that’s challenging for most children, can have an enormous positive impact on your child’s self-esteem. This can lead to her feeling more encouraged to pursue other curiosities and hobbies. Furthermore, it will teach her to be more self-confident and autonomous.
It strengthens your little one’s body.
Bedtime yoga — while designed mainly to provide children with a way to wind down for the day — can also work to strengthen their little bodies. Additionally, regular practice of bedtime yoga can help to improve blood flow in the body, improve flexibility, and increase strength.
4 Bedtime Yoga Poses for Kids
Greet the Moon (Sun Salutations)
Benefits: Releasing pent-up energy in your little one’s body.
How to perform “Greet the Moon”: Greet the moon is a bedtime yoga pose that’s similar to the sun salute, only this time, your little one is greeting the moon and stars. To start, have your child stand with both feet firmly planted on the ground.
Next, ask her to raise her arms all the way up to the sky, stretching her back. Once she has a good stretch going, instruct her to bend her body forward and touch the ground.
Hold this pose for three to five breaths before asking your child to slowly come all the way back up with her hands over her head. Ask your daughter to bring her hands to the side, exhaling gently. Repeat this pose three times before moving on to the next.
Side-Bending Mountain Pose
Benefits: Opens the muscles located on the side of the body. Helps to improve breathing and relaxation.
How to perform “Side-Bending Mountain Pose”: While standing straight with both feet planted firmly planted on the ground, ask your child to bring her arms together over her head.
Instruct your child to take three deep breaths. On the last exhale, ask your child to bend to her right side. Hold this pose for three to five breaths.
Once done, instruct your child to come back to center. Along side your child, take three more breaths here before bending over to the other side. Repeat this pose twice on each side, for a good stretch.
Benefits: Stretches the lower back, thighs, and hips. Helps to calm the central nervous system and relieve physical tension.
How to perform “Child’s Pose”: Instruct your child to get on all fours with her knees facing slightly outside. Ask her to take a breath first, and then let her push back and sit on their heels. Do the pose as well as a visual aid for your child. Keep your arms stretched out as far as they can in front of both of you. Hold this pose for five to eight breaths before coming back up to all fours.
Benefits: Realigns the spine to its natural position. Reduces insomnia and stress in children.
How to perform “Corpse Pose”: This is a great pose to end your bedtime yoga routine with. It’s the simplest and most basic of yoga pose in the book.
Ask your child to lie on her back, releasing all tension from her body. Next, ask your little one to close her eyes and take slow, even breaths to help her get to a more relaxed state. A good way to get your child to relax when in the corpse pose is to put on quiet, healing music in the background. Music has plenty of benefits that can be enjoyed together with a relaxing bedtime yoga for kids.
Bedtime doesn’t have to be a battlefield as most parents experience it. It can be a relaxing and rejuvenating time for both children and adults. By starting a bedtime yoga routine with your little one, you can help them wind down for the day and get rid of stressors or anxieties that might be keeping them up late every night.
To learn about about implementing mindfulness and yoga in your family’s daily routine check out BBNN’s online class, Mindfulness: Raising Self-Aware Children. Here are some additional yoga poses to try with children; enjoy!
About The Author
Aussy Aportadera is pursuing the unhurried life in the beachside town of La Union, Philippines. After a career in communications and publishing for luxury lifestyle, food, and wine, she is now a yoga teacher and co-owner of a ceramics brand. Find her on twitter and instagram to learn more about her!