How Yoga Can Help Your Baby or Toddler Sleep

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Today’s article is a guest article by Laurie Jordan, author of Yawning Yoga: A Goodnight Book for A Good Night’s Sleep and the creator of Little Sprouts Yoga for Kaia Yoga Wellness Centers. See below for full bio.

Sleep problems are very common among children. In fact, MOST children aren’t getting proper sleep at night. And every parent knows that when children are sleep deprived, they are likely to have a hard time controlling their emotions. This can lead to potential problems at home and at school, and can be exhausting for mom and dad.

Incorporating yoga into your child’s bedtime routine, provides the perfect sleep solution for your child by helping shift her minds’ focus from being preoccupied with daily stressors to focusing her attention to yoga postures, relaxation techniques and breath work, with the ultimate goal being a restful sleep.

The benefits of establishing a bedtime yoga routine for your child:

• The combination of breath work, guided imagery, and soothing yoga postures helps release excess energy, tension and stress while calming your child and helping her move towards stillness.
• Helps cultivate a relaxed state of body and mind and provides tools for stress management.
• Develops the ability to center and calm themselves all situations.
• Empowers children to be less reactive and more at peace with themselves.
• Lays the foundation for a lifetime of health and well-being.
• Enables kids to fall asleep faster and achieve a higher quality of sleep.
• Helps reduce irritability, crankiness and hyperactivity.
• Encourages parents to interact and bond with their kids in a positive and healthy way that everyone will enjoy.
• Parents can get their kids to sleep with greater ease.
• Parents are likely to can enjoy a higher quality of sleep if their kids are sleeping soundly.

The following sequence has been carefully designed and will help a children establish a bedtime routine that is proven to work:

TAKE TWO:

Calming breath exercise. Make sure your child doesn’t hold his/her breath.
1) Take deep breaths in through your nose to the count of two; and
2) Breathe out through your nose to the count of two
3) Repeat 3-5 times

BEDTIME BUG:

Also known as happy baby, this pose relieves stress and calms the mind.
1) Lie on your back
2) Grab the outside edges of your feet with your hands
3) Open your knees as wide apart as your torso
4) Draw your knees down toward your armpits
5) Move slowly from side to side to massage your lower back
6) Hold this pose for at least 5 full deep breaths

THE TWISTER:

This is a simple pose that soothes digestion and helps relieve stress in the body.
1) Lay flat on your back
2) Spread your arms out to each side, like a “T”
3) Bring your knees to your chest and slowly drop them over to one side
4) Slowly bring your knees back up to your chest and again gently drop them to the other side
5) Encourage holding for 5 breaths on each side

GOODNIGHT LITTLE BODY:

This meditative exercise helps you move closer towards stillness by saying good night to each body part.
1) Start with your toes and move all the way up to your head
2) Say good night to your toes, then each foot, your shins, knees, thighs, then hips
3) Continue with your pelvis, behind, stomach, ribs, chest, then entire torso
4) Next is your fingers, hands, forearms, elbows, upper arms, your shoulders, neck and your face
5) Then relax your face and say good night to your entire body.

WISHING STAR:

Is a meditation exercise designed to prepare the mind for sleep. It clears away stressful thoughts and shifts your mind’s focus to something calming and positive.
1) Lay flat on your back, arms at your sides
2) Relax your body
3) Close your eyes
4) Imagine a star and it’s starlight shining in you. Make a wish.
5) Allow enough time to explore this image

Kids of all ages will be stretching and twisting and breathing their way into dreamland!

If you are looking for ways beyond yoga to help your baby or toddler sleep, please be sure to pick up your FREE copy of 5 (tear-free) Ways to Help Your Child Sleep Through the Night, our e-Book with tear-free tips to help your baby sleep better. For those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3-Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep (babies) or The 5-Step System to Better Toddler Sleep (toddlers). Using a unique approach and practical tools for success, our e-books help you and your baby sleep through the night and nap better. For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations, where you will receive a Personalized Sleep Plan™ you can feel good about! Sometimes it’s not that you can’t make a plan. Sometimes you’re just too tired to.

Have You Done Yoga With Your Baby or Toddler?

Laurie Jordan is the author of YAWNING YOGA: A GOODNIGHT BOOK FOR A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP and the creator of Little Sprouts Yoga for Kaia Yoga Wellness Centers. She shares her expertise on all things kids yoga as a contributing writer for Elephant Journal. She has a Masters in Social Work from Columbia University School of Social Work and is a certified yoga instructor for children and adults.

Laurie created this bedtime book based on her successful bedtime yoga series, Yawning Yoga. She developed her unique “Yawning Yoga” sequence while working as a school social worker in an effort to help over-stimulated, over-stressed children enjoy a good night’s sleep and ultimately, greater school success. The combination of yoga and social work has given Laurie a unique expertise that provides insight and special solutions to growing children and families.

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