Exhausted mom. Rowdy kids. Lots of yelling. Does this sound like a typical bedtime at your house? Settling your kids before bed after a day full of activities and stimulation isn’t always (or ever!) easy. But, you’re in luck, because children’s bedtime yoga can help immensely.
It just so happens that there are three amazing yoga poses that you can practice with your kids to get them calmed down, settled in, and ready for bed.
The best part is they can do these poses right in their beds! Whether you pick one or try all three, they are guaranteed to bring a little more peace at an otherwise turbulent time.
Read on for some life-saving, bedtime-fixing yoga help!
Children’s Bedtime Yoga – Use These 3 Yoga Poses to Calm Your Kids Before Bed:
Most children don’t jump at the idea of sitting in a calming, meditative pose, but these three children’s bedtime yoga poses will likely make your kids want to practice yoga.
1. Child’s Pose (Balasana)
This is an incredibly simple yoga pose with amazing benefits. When you fold forward and rest your head, you are sending a message to the body that you are safe and that it’s okay to rest.
This posture also stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system (your rest-and-digest system). This brings about a calm, relaxing feeling as your body begins to shift into a peaceful state, knowing that relaxation is coming.
As adults we could probably hang out in Child’s Pose happily all day long, thankful for the rest and relaxation. But children aren’t so keen on being still and quiet, are they?
So how do you keep your child in this pose long enough to calm them down and get them bedtime ready? Play a game!
Stack the Stuffies is one of my favorite calming games for children. It’s easy for you, and fun and engaging for them. It also allows them to be active participants in their relaxation which is a plus when you want them to stay focused!
Let’s try it:
- Have your child bend their knees, sitting back onto their heels
- With knees wide and toes touching behind them, have them fold forward and rest their head on their pillow
- Once they’re in Child’s Pose, place a stuffed animal on their back and ask them to breathe deep and slow so it doesn’t fall off
- After 30 seconds or so, add another stuffie (stuffed animal) on top, creating more of a challenge
- The more stuffies you stack, the more they have to focus on keeping their body still and their breath slow so the stuffies don’t topple off
- And if/when they do – no worries! Just begin again
- You can do this as long as it keeps their interest. The longer they stay in the posture, the better!
2. Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)
Another great children’s bedtime yoga posture for stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, Legs Up the Wall not only calms the body and the mind, but also helps reverse blood flow in the lower body, which is especially great for kids who have been sitting for a while.
Again, this yoga pose is a big hit with parents who are itching to just lay down and do nothing for a few minutes. But not so much for kids who want to run around the room and jump on the bed. So it’s time for another game!
Let’s try it:
- Have your child lie on their back with their legs straight up against the wall
- Tight hamstrings? No problem, just scoot further away from the wall to lessen the stretch a bit
- Grab those stuffed animals or dolls again for another version of Stack the Stuffies
- Have your child flex their feet, making a flat surface
- Place one of their stuffed animals on the bottom of each foot so your child needs to focus on stillness to keep them from falling off
- Keep stacking slowly, taking breaks in between each new addition, letting your child focus all of their attention on keeping their legs still and their body calm so their stuffies stay put
Pro Tip: If you have more than one child to calm before bed, try having them lay side by side in this posture with just a few feet between them.
After you practice Stack the Stuffies with each of them, take away all but one stuffed animal and have them pass the stuffie down the line and back using just their feet.
You can also use a scarf or light blanket and have them pass it down the line keeping it between their heals and the wall. By giving them a fun task to complete while being in this pose you increase the time they will happily stay there.
3. Sleeping Bug / Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana)
This posture calms the mind, relieves stress, and also relaxes the spine. A tight or achy low back can make it hard to fall asleep, especially for older kids.
Another game for this posture is called Fill the Boat. This is an especially fun one for little ones. While in Sleeping Bug, the shape of your child’s body resembles a boat that you can fill with stuffed animals.
Let’s try it:
- Laying on their back with their head on their pillow, have your child bend their knees toward their armpits and hold onto their flat, flexed feet or ankles
- Encourage them to see what feels best for their body: lying still or rocking a bit from side to side for a little back massage
- Stack the Stuffies can be played in this pose as well, placing a doll or bean bag on each of your child’s flexed feet
- Perhaps they can shift a little side to side while trying to keep that stuffie in place!
- To play Fill the Boat, begin placing stuffies on their stomach, stacking more and more until they have a boat filled with their favorite friends. Take your time here – the slower you go, the longer they spend in the pose
- You can then have them rock side to side like a boat on a rocky sea, taking their stuffies for a ride
Create a Children’s Bedtime Yoga Routine in Your House for Relaxing Evenings
Next time you find yourself chasing your kids around with toothbrushes or yelling about how this is really the last time you’re going to ask them to get into bed, remember these three children’s yoga poses and the bedtime fun you can have with them.
Not only will it help relax your kids into sleep mode, but it will make bedtime easier and more enjoyable for you, too. 🙂
It’s a win-win! Sleep tight!