Parent-child Routine for a Restorative Sleep

Whether it’s to get back into shape or to relax, yoga is trending. But did you know that yoga can also bring other positive benefits into your life, like enhancing your child’s sleep?

For a smooth transition into the night, turn off the TV, hide your phone, dim the lights and start whispering. Choose a quiet room that’s free of interruption and set a cozy, peaceful ambience that will make your child feel secure and serene. With the toys tucked away and curtains down, you’ll have the ideal setting for getting ready to enter dreamland.

Here are a few simple exercises that can easily be integrated into your evening routine. They’re designed to calm you and your child and enhance your quality of sleep. Sweet dreams guaranteed.

Gentle yoga for children

To release tensions and quiet the mind, why not start with a classic child’s pose. On a mat—or any soft surface—have your little one sit on their heels. With forehead facing the ground and the palms pressing down by the ears or along the body, suggest a gentle forehead massage by having them slowly roll their head from side to side. You can guide a short meditation, asking you child to let one thought fade away with every roll of the head. You can also act as a model and do the exercise with them. You’ll enjoy it too!

The half shoulder stand—also known as the half candlestick—is another simple exercise that you can try in bed. Have your little one lie down, place a cushion underneath their lower back and invite them to raise their legs towards the ceiling. The eyes can be closed. Gently guide them through the exercise, pretending that their legs are seaweed moving to the rhythm of the ocean. This playful game will massage the lower back and release some tension.

How to massage your child

Massages are simply wonderful. There’s no need to be an expert massage therapist to reap their benefits. All you need is some scent-free lotion and a drop of lavender essential oil*. Simply rub your palms together to generate some heat and you’re ready to go. Start with your little one’s feet, moving upward from heels to toes. Draw little circles with your thumbs while applying continuous, light pressure. This will encourage the whole body to relax.

Next, a delicate abdominal massage is sure to please. Again, follow clockwise circular motions while applying very little pressure. Make sure to pay attention to your child’s reactions, as this area can be quite sensitive. Conclude the session with the head, massaging the temples using the same circular movement or gentle tapping. Slowly move to the forehead, gently rubbing the area between the eyebrows. If your child is old enough, you can ask them to reciprocate and give you a massage. What a beautiful opportunity for sharing!

Belly breathing to relax

When we’re overly busy or simply too anxious, we often forget to breathe properly. A short evening breathing session allows parents and children to relax together while having a tremendous impact on sleep.

First, make sure your child is lying down comfortably. Feel free to use a pillow underneath the head if necessary. Have them put their hands on top of their belly to feel it move up and down. Slowly have them inhale to fill the belly like a balloon, then exhale through the nose. Make sure your little one notices the rolling waves occurring in their tummy. This classic yoga exercise will fine-tune their focus and massage tense areas in the abdomen.

You can also lie down next to your child and synchronize your belly inflation with theirs. With your encouragement, your child will certainly want to keep going. This simple exercise also works wonders to appease moments of anger or sadness. It reduces negativity and brings things into perspective. Give it a try!

There are plenty of great yoga techniques specifically designed to help children sleep. Don’t hesitate to read more on the topic; there are lots of wonderful books to check out. Also, most yoga studios across the country now offer classes exclusively for kids, along with dedicated parent-baby sessions. To find out more, a quick online search will suffice. Better sleep can quite simply bring magic into your life. In addition to being fun, these easy tricks have the power to transform your nights and brighten your days. Happy a good time exploring!

*Always test a small quantity of any new product that comes into contact with the skin by rubbing some behind the knee. If no reaction occurs within 24 hours, you can safely use it on the rest of the body.

Chloé Verrier

This article was written in collaboration with Chloé Verrier, a certified yoga instructor. She has completed 380 hours of training in Hatha yoga, Hatha Flow and Vinyasa and she is a certified Childbirth Educator. Chloé is passionate about people, movement and the healing power of breath. She teaches in several yoga studios in Montreal.