HERE'S A TRICK WE USE TO GET OUR KIDS TO SLEEP
Do you have young children? If so, what's your most stressful time as a parent? Is it getting the kids dressed and out of the house (this is Kendra's)? Is it eating out as a family away from home? Or is it dropping them off at school? (actually that might be your happiest time)
Do you ever have a weak moment as a parent and for a split second ponder, "What the hell were we thinking?"
I love my kids more than anything. Besides my faith and my wife, they are the most important thing in my world. They are the sugar on my cereal. The caramel on my iced white mocha. But, sometimes Earth (Baylor), Wind (Bella), Fire (Winnie), and Ice (Norah) can be a lot.
For me, unequivocally, the most stressful time is putting the kids down at night. Our newborn Norah is no prob. All she does is eat, sleep, and poop. Winnie (20 months) goes out like light. Her big bro Baylor (5) and big sis Bellamy (3) on the other hand, make Ricky Bobby's hellions Walker and Texas Ranger look like saints...
"I'm all jacked up on Mountain Dew!"
"You're gonna break us like a bunch of Wild horses, aren't you?"
Some nights, I swear our kids have been possessed by Caillou and Sherriff Callie on crack.
We've tried every trick in the book, from sticking to the same routine, reading books, watching one show, singing songs, keeping a Magna-Doodle on hand, saying prayers, hall light on, bathroom light on...the list keeps going.
Each night I feel like Rocky Balboa getting his ass kicked by Apollo in the first Rocky movie. After coming in and out of their rooms a thousands times, instead of yelling, "Adrien," I'm yelling, "Kennnnddraaaaa!" I often need spiritual, emotional, and physical support.
Praise Jesus for melatonin though. We try to save that miracle gift from God for only when we absolutely need it. And it only works if we were smart enough to think ahead and give it to them 45 minutes before they get in their jammies and begin to reenact scenes from Veggie Tales - with a flashlight and and some random thing on their head.
If you've ever experienced a scene like this raise your hand. It's OK, I got news for you. It doesn't have to be like this. There is a different way.
I've been on this mindfulness kick for quite some time now. I've been studying it and practicing it on myself as well. The scientific evidence is just too strong. The health benefits are amazing, so why not pass this knowledge on to our kids?
The definition of mindfulness is this:
The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
A mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
My definition of mindfulness, is getting centered; focusing on one thing (whether your breath, a word, a sound, or object); and allowing your brain to quiet the noise. When an errant thought pops up, you recognize it and go back to your one thing. When you do that, it's like taking a mental rep for your brain...just like doing a rep of curls to strengthen your biceps.
There are several great tools to help practice mindfulness: The app Headspace is a good place to start, and Spotify has a bunch of options to listen to.
I've tried all of these but I've never tried mindfulness or meditation on my kids. However, last month, my mother-in-law, who is also a licensed counselor, told me how YouTube has a bunch of a guided meditations for children. About a week ago, after dealing with bedtime antics for a half hour, I remembered her tip, and turned on a YouTube meditation video talking about some dragon. I synced the video that was playing on my phone with our Beats Pill to make this British women's voice sound like she was actually in the room.
It was seriously amazing. The kids began to focus on their breath, relax, and it was unbelievable, they laid still and shut the F up.
I added a little lavender essential oil, and it was magic.
Baylor fell asleep within 10 minutes, and wild child Bellamy Rue fell asleep in like 15 minutes.........check please.
We've made YouTube children guided meditations a nightly ritual, and I've joined them in these sessions every night. I get the added benefit of meditating with them, which is also an added bonus.
The kids have enjoyed this experience so much that they even asked for it...which is pretty awesome.
I passed this piece of advice to one of my friends because she said her five-year-old refuses to go to bed at night. She used one of the videos I sent her. She texted me a picture later that evening…her daughter was out like a light in five minutes. She was so pumped! She said it was the best piece of parenting advice she's ever received (ah shucks, thanks Andrea...it takes a village).
When she told me that, I knew I had to share this best practice to the masses.
By teaching your kids techniques of mindfulness (especially at night), they get many benefits:
- a stress relieving technique
- a way to calm themselves down
- practice not needing technology to be quiet
- they are strengthening their brain
- your kids AND you, hopefully get more sleep
Below is one of Bella's favorite guided meditations Wow a shocker, it's about unicorns (this is the same one I sent to my friend Andrea).
If you've tried every trick in the book to get your kids down with no avail, give this technique a try and let me know how it goes.
With your kids down early without putting up a fight, you'll be like...
If you think this piece of advice could help some of your parent peeps, please tag them or share it!
Collin Henderson founded Project Rise to help individuals and teams master their mindset and be the best version of themselves. His new books Project Rise: 8 Winning Habits to Build the Best Version of You and Rise Journal are coming in September!