If putting your child to bed is a battle, you are certainly not alone. You fight and fight until you're both exhausted. But if you try introducing yoga for kids, you might find a bedtime truce and help your child fall asleep—and stay asleep. Try adding yoga after bathtime and pajamas but before reading a story. Participate with your child, so the two of you are relaxing together. Try a few poses to start and then add a few more as you and your child get used to them.
Start with the breath
Lie on your back with your hands on your belly. Tell your child to breathe through her nose and to count to four while breathing in and again to four when breathing out. Concentrate on your bellies rising and falling. Breathe like this at the beginning and end of your yoga routine.
Greet the moon
This is a great movement to start with to get any "extra wiggles" out of your child. Stand up tall and reach up to the sky, as if you are trying to touch the moon. Take a breath in, and as you exhale, fold forward at the hips and reach toward your toes. Breathe in and out once, counting to four. On your next inhale, stand up tall and reach up to the sky again. Continue this series of movements three to five times.
Squeeze it in
Lie on your back and hug your knees to your chest. Bring your forehead toward your knees, rounding out the spine. Concentrate on squeezing hard and creating tension. Use this as a chance to make funny faces. Inhale once more, and on the exhale, relax and release so that you are lying flat on your back again. Repeat this three to five times.
If you don't notice the bedtime struggle improving immediately, don't give up! And make sure you don't take it too seriously. The more fun you have, the more likely your child will relax and want to continue it. Keep trying, and soon you will notice the bedtime battles slowly turn into peaceful retreats. Namaste.
For additional nighttime yoga poses, check out Yawning Yoga: A Goodnight Book for a Good Night's Sleep by Laurie Jordan.