Motherhood

A Bedtime Trick That’s Changing Our Lives

girl falling asleep

Last week, I made a parenting mistake…

Toby and Anton had won a Bingo game, so I told them they could choose a special drink as a prize. We walked to the bodega, and — because I’ve become a huge softie during the pandemic — they convinced me to let them get their very first Cokes. And then, for reasons unknown, I let them drink them after dinner.

Cut to 9 p.m., when they’re going to bed, and these little boys are WIRED. They’re wriggling around in bed like puppies, and there’s no end in sight. We read, we chat, we sing, we cuddle, and still their bodies are full of caffeinated energy.

Finally, I had a last-gasp idea. “Anton, why don’t you lead a meditation?” I asked, since I remembered his teachers did meditations at school. He agreed, and we all rolled onto our backs.

“First, stretch out your legs, then stretch out your arms,” he said, very slowly. “Now, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth…breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth…”

We already felt more relaxed. “Now, make your body heavy,” he told us. “Pretend you’re falling through water. Pretend you’re falling through glue, but it’s not sticky. Now think of a place you like. Picture lying on the beach, feel the sun on your face, hear the sound of the waves.”

Then Anton asked us to put the soles of our feet together, to make a circle with our legs. “Now put your hand on your heart and think of your loved ones,” he whispered. I almost started crying!

After about four minutes of meditation, both boys were quiet. And suddenly I heard a little snore. They had fallen asleep.

I COULD NOT BELIEVE how quickly it worked. For the next five nights, we led meditations at bedtime; they didn’t always fall asleep, but they became relaxed and silent. Once, during a meditation, I slowly listed everyone who loved them, which felt so safe and grounding (at least to me!); and another time we focused on our bellies rising and falling as we breathed. Here’s a script to another meditation, if you’d like.

Have you ever tried meditation at bedtime? I’m looking forward to researching more, and please share any tips or experiences that you have! I’m all ears…

P.S. A family of five that co-sleeps, how we sleep-trained Toby, and Seinfeld’s bedtime routine for his kids.

(Photo by Maria Manco/Stocksy.)

  1. Ah this is so beautiful! We all go through it with our babies and children, when I think I finally got the right rhythm when it comes to sleep, then things suddenly go wrong.

  2. This is the sweetest! My mom is a mental health nurse and led mindfulness training in her job when we were little. I have plenty of memories of her talking us through meditations at bedtime or if we were worried :) Such a cool idea that Anton led it himself!

  3. I have been using the app Calm to do sleep meditations as I am falling asleep and it has helped me a ton!

  4. Kelly says...

    Something I figured out to help our zoomy little three year old wind down for bedtime: his own special flashlight and books in bed. There’s something SO COOL about holding your own flashlight when you’re three that he doesn’t even notice he’s calming his body down.

  5. EEOG says...

    Such a sweet story. Love how this piece reads more like a phone call with your girlfriend.

  6. Kelly says...

    I play mediations from Spotify (they love sada) in the car when I want my kids (4 & 10) to chill or fall asleep.

    My energetic and headstrong 4 yo has been IMPOSSIBLE to get to sleep since we got rid of her crib 1.5 years ago. I got her a Yoto player for Xmas and after we read her a bedtime story, she can play her Yoto player. She LOVES the independence of picking a card and playing it herself, and the voices calm her like we’ve never been able to…she’s asleep 30-45 mins earlier and doesn’t get out of bed once! It’s a bit pricy but worth it for us!

  7. Sara D says...

    Our kids were having trouble getting to sleep in the fall when virtual school started (probably from looking into a screen for hours a day), until we started playing audiobooks for them as they fall asleep. They started with Little Women and have since listened through so many classics! And they’re usually out within 20-30 minutes.

  8. Elizabeth says...

    Two books we love are “Breathe Like a Bear” and “Mindful Moments at Bedtime.” My 5 year old loves them at bedtime or when we need calm, and they’re very kid focused.

  9. susan says...

    one word….Zenimal . It is for kids….. a small device that has guided meditations to help kids relax. It is fantastic.

  10. Katherine says...

    This article couldn’t have come at a better time. My 2.5 yo daughter is FINALLY napping well at school each afternoon, but it this has made bedtime a struggle. She used to fall asleep in a matter of minutes because she was so exhausted, but now she fights sleep and is often up an hour or longer past her 8:30 bedtime. We cosleep, but even that isn’t helping – she insists on getting up for another snack and a ride in the car, which finally puts her to sleep. We’re going to start trying meditation TONIGHT. If nothing else, maybe I’ll fall asleep?!

  11. Nathalie says...

    You should check out the petit bambou app (https://www.petitbambou.com/en/). It’s a meditation app created especially for kids. Very popular in Europe.

  12. Julie says...

    We do this every night! I play the Album Meditation for Kids by Sada. It’s a miracle worker. We also play this in the car when kids are tired/cranky. Or any other time we need to calm ourselves down.

  13. OM says...

    I’ve never thought of mediation for kids! Don’t have them yet. This is so so sweet!!

  14. Kate says...

    Dear Moms Globally,

    You NEED to get the Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep by Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin. Both my children have been read this book since they were babies and although it only started really working from about age 2.5 it was worth the hard yards before then. It is a sort of meditation and Carl-Johan is a serious academic who wrote it based on research.

    Love, a South African Mom x

    • andrenna says...

      thanks for this rec, kate! i just ordered it for my 2.5 year old son!

  15. Melissa H says...

    There is one episode of the Meditation Oasis podcast “sleep meditation for children” that we use all the time. We all have it memorized. “How do your toes feel?…” no clue if it’s any “good” but works for us!

  16. Hillary F. says...

    I am too lazy to look through the comments but google “hot air ballon meditation” and listen with your kids. I like to put the phone facedown by the door so you can’t see any blue light and the sound is a little far away so I can walk out with it if they fall asleep. The narrator has the best voice.

    • Ren says...

      Oh dear person on the other side of the world (hello from Oz) … we got about 1:45mins in and zzzz
      Thank you xxx

  17. Albi says...

    Yes, we started using the free version of the app “insight Timer” for our kids (7&9) this past fall. Both kids have had big emotions and lots of disappointment and stress during the pandemic and it was a good way to end our long days. Our favorite one is “Put the day to bed”. It’s 7 minutes which seems like the perfect amount of time.

  18. Yep, it’s one of my favourite things. There’s a great podcast with 12 minute-ish led meditations for kids called Bedtime explorers. The host is australian and has a very soothing voice. I can’t recommend it enough

  19. B says...

    Jo, can you share more about how your boys learned so much about meditation? I have been been trying to share meditation with my four-year-old, but my efforts so far have not gained a lot of traction!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hi b! both of the boys’ schools do meditation at school. toby’s music teacher leads meditations in his music classes, and Anton does yoga/meditation during his week at school. so they learned it that way. I’m so glad because I wouldn’t have known how to lead a meditation myself!

    • Mollie Whalen says...

      Hi Joanna! I’m a second grade teacher and I’ve experimented with doing meditation with my classes before (I’ve taught all the elementary grades at some point!). I’d love to hear what program the music teacher uses, or where she got trained. Does she just pick and choose or does she have a curriculum she follows? Thanks so much!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      great questions, mollie! here’s Mr. Williamsons’s website, if you’re interested! https://www.ericwilliamson.org/teaching
      he’s amazing — full of energy and humor and love and compassion. I’m not sure about his meditation training, but it’s pretty lose and laid-back — he usually plays a song (from all different decades/styles of music) and the kids meditate while they listen.

    • jane says...

      Omg, Mr Williamson! What a gem! Thank you for sharing his link – even though I am not in NY it was heart-warming to ‘meet’ him and see all the wonderful work he does.

  20. Abra says...

    Our kids became increasingly more difficult to put to bed at the beginning of the pandemic and we were exhausted by bedtime working crazy schedules with them home. We made them a bedtime playlist of soothing songs, mostly from their favourite movies. We would put the playlist after stories and cuddles. They stopped getting out of bed or acting wild because they enjoyed the songs so much. And we were free to try to relax or plan around the ever changing schedules.

  21. Sara Yellich says...

    As a child I started a bedtime routine and realized some twenty years later it was a form of meditation. My husband does it when he is wakeful at night and now our six year old asks me to guide him through it. He will even call to me saying ‘I got to outer space and I’m still awake! Come do the camera thing, Momma.’

    Here’s the process.

    ‘You’re in your bed, flat on your back. Imagine there is a camera above you transmitting what the camera sees to behind your closed eyes. The camera shows you in your bed, calm, your body quiet and heavy. Arms still. The camera pulls back to show your room. You see your bookcase, the toys strewn on the floor, your coat hung by the door. The camera pulls back, you see the bedroom next door with your Daddy and I in bed reading. Our dog on his bed nearby. The camera continues to pull back a bit and pause: above our yard, above our street, above the river a few blocks away, above the mountains to the west, out and out and into outerspace.’

    When I tell the story I add details at each pause to really SLOW down the process ‘an otter silently glides along the Deschutes looking for fish. An owl swoops across the field. People are walking through the snow outside after a long day at work under an inky sky filled stars.’ By the time we get to outer space, my son is usually asleep. I have performed this since I was seven? eight? (I’m now 46) and it works to still my body and mind.

    • NW says...

      I would pay good money to have you saying this to me at bedtime (the part about the otter! And the owl! My heart!)

    • Ally says...

      Wow this sounds like “Powers of 10” by Charles and Ray Eames but personalised! Amazing. Thanks for the inspiration! I do something similar walking my child through the day that just happened and adding those small details too. Or an imaginary walk in the fields sometimes to a big tall tree. But the looking down onto our world thing is awesome.

    • Emma says...

      This would be a beautiful children’s book, I can even picture the illustrations in my mind!

  22. Rusty says...

    I bought my nieces a l9vely, lovely, lovely book called BREATHE LIKE A BEAR. For the life of me, I can’t remember the author and don’t have energy to look it up…after midnight in Oz.
    It. Is. Fabulous! For. Under 12s.

    • Irene says...

      Rusty, thank you so much for this recommendation!!! I looked up this book immediately, saw the great reviews, and bought it! What a fantastic bedtime book! It’s made such a difference – my 2 & 4 year old love it!

  23. Madame says...

    My children enjoy the Christiane Kerr enchanted meditations…
    They are great for bedtime or anytime really.

  24. Stacey says...

    I do a simple body scan meditation at bedtime with my anxious five year and it’s been so helpful! She was always scared to be in her room awake with no parents after getting tucked in. This gets her mind away from her fear and focused on her own body and feelings of sleepiness. My 3 year old now loves them too. Every night they ask “Mom, will you do the resting thing?”

  25. Jen says...

    My older daughter has a lot of trouble settling her mind at night, and doesn’t like a lot of the bedtime meditation stories on the Calm app that my other daughter listens to. But last night she listened to Bob Ross (!) and loved it!! She even quoted him before she fell asleep. “We don’t make mistakes — we just have happy accidents.”

    • Nikki says...

      Bob Ross is the ULTIMATE relaxing TV. I’m 31 and watch it to fall asleep when my insomnia gets bad. It’s so meditative and relaxing and peaceful, and his voice is so soothing. I also have a personal connection in that my uncle used to put it on when I was little and stayed home sick from school. bless Bob Ross.

  26. Allyson says...

    I want to try this with my three year old. She was a total crank-face all day yesterday, and finally after dinner I made us all bundle up, grab a flashlight and go for a NIGHT WALK *say it like a dramatic 80’s cop show.* We just went down the street and back but fresh air, letting her lead the adventure and choose the path fixed her attitude. She did not, however, go to sleep on time or in her own bed. :)

  27. Sasha L says...

    What a beautiful and loving practice, thank you so much for sharing. I think at least some of the magic here lies in you doing it with them, just your gentle presence must be so comforting, calming and soothing. I imagine they felt very loved and protected and safe.

  28. We talk about “happy things” at bedtime as a variation on a gratitude journal. Someone chooses a number each evening 1-5 and we each list that many happy things. It absolutely melts my heart to hear my two year old list what comes to mind and when he is searching for more, look around the room and continue to show gratitude for whatever meets the eye: “curtains, circles, rug…”

  29. MJ says...

    My mom and I did a weekend at Kripalu a few years back and it was the first time I experienced yoga nidra. I drifted in and out of a not quite sleep peaceful zen. It was led by Jennifer Reis who was excellent; she has recordings you can purchase if you Google her. I bought her Divine Sleep for Children for my son since and he’s responded well! So cute to peak in on a little kid doing breath work. Anyway, I like yoga nidra because it’s restful at the end of the day or renewing in the morning/daytime — it’s similar to what you describe Anton led here — and it doesn’t carry the intimidation of meditation (as there is really no wrong way to do it!)

  30. Marianne says...

    My 4 and 5 year old listens to Bedtime Explorers – mindfulness and meditation short stories for kids – and it makes mummy and daddy relax as well. Every night for over a year now.

  31. iLa says...

    This is so lovely. And one of the reason I find reading Cup of Jo so inspiring. With my oldest kids we have tried meditation a few times and it has helped them calm down. We’ve just imagined being in space surrounded by stars. Another trick to slow down the heart beat is to lay down with the legs up :)

  32. Alice says...

    My boyfriend and I have recently started playing a word association game to help us relax once we get into bed. It’s literally as simple as one of us saying a word, and another saying a word that links to it in some capacity, and then so on- e.g. Snow/ winter/ spring/ blossom/ apples/ crumble/ custard/ ice cream/ beach/ cliffs/ white/ black/ night/ stars/ moon/ cheese/ etc etc etc
    (It went off-piste last night when he said “waves” and I said “drown” so we now have the rule that it has to be something nice)
    We’re not exactly sure how it started, but it’s a very calm, relaxing thing to do!

  33. MB says...

    I use the Calm app for guided meditations for myself, and we now use it every single night for my 4 yo. Occasionally we’ll do a guided meditation but their sleep stories for kids are excellent and help her wind down and drift off to sleep.
    I’ve seen a few mentions about yoga here so also wanted to recommend Cosmic Kids yoga which my daughter also enjoys.

  34. Felix says...

    I’ve meditated at bedtime regularly since the age of nine, having had an unorthodox childhood. There have been periods where I let it fall to the wayside for a few weeks or even months occasionally, but I immediately put it back to practice upon a night of impending insomnia. I was fortunate that my parents were way ahead of the curve in meditation, self-hypnosis, bio-feedback, and mindfulness, amongst other things. As a child, I was enrolled in a mind control class, and after receiving multiple college degrees, I can honestly say the most valuable class I’ve ever taken was that mind control class taken at age 10. I wasn’t grateful for it at the time, but I’ve thanked my parents numerous for having me take it. It’s wonderful to hear children are now being taught this in schools. It can be so incredibly beneficial and anyone can do it, everyone should try it. I always feel so much more centered, and after getting it back into my daily and nightly rotation, I wonder why I ever stopped for more than a day or two. The last time I thought that was about five years ago, as I finally recognized the importance of it being an absolute priority in my daily life. There’s some great practices that aren’t well known in the U.S. it’s nice to see western civilization finally appreciating some practices from eastern philosophy more wide stream.

  35. Ange says...

    What a beautiful tip! So lovely that he was able to lead you through it, and I love that you listed all the people who loved them. Always finding parenting inspiration here❤️

  36. Eva says...

    I got into a daily(ish) meditation practice a few years ago thanks to the Headspace app, which I love. I’m more a morning meditator though, specifically because night meditating makes me so sleepy haha.

    My little one is turning 2 in March and I can’t WAIT to introduce her to meditation but also trying to be patient :) Right now she’s going through a phase of cuddling by lying down directly on me, so I point out my breath going up and down; when she cries I say “let’s breathe together” … welcome any other tips from folx!

  37. Laura says...

    Thanks for posting on this topic, Joanna! My nearly 3 year old is constantly in motion and quite a handful, and getting him down at night has gotten increasingly harder. I spent 5-10 minutes tonight guiding him and his big sister (6yo) in a meditation based on the one you linked, and it worked like a charm! Sam wiggled and squirmed and talked for the first few minutes, but with a brief acknowledgment and redirecting each time he eventually settled and fell fast asleep before I finished. My husband and I have been meditating before bed each night but it hasn’t occurred to me to share this tool with my kids. I see this being a regular part of our routine moving forward.

  38. Rebekah Kohmescher says...

    Peace Out podcast for kids leads them. My kids love this!

  39. Cynthia Miller says...

    I love this. I’ve been fighting with my almost 18-y-o daughter about working on her sleep schedule. I think if I can find an online meditation for her- and me!- it might help.
    (And I’m going to do one with my 9-y-o son tonight!) Thank you, Anton, for such a great meditation.

  40. Erin says...

    This is so sweet! My 4 yo had a small bit of Coca Cola a couple months ago at dinner & was a crazy person all night afterwards! Ha ha. We do breathing exercises with our kiddos at night when they’re especially hyped up (Sunday nights)…it took them awhile but now they’re into it.

  41. emily dickinson says...

    my oldest is VERY high energy and has a hard time calming down. we’ve found some fantastic guided meditation on amazon music (sleep well for kids and some british-voiced unicorn tracks) that she can listen to throughout her day to help breathe if things get off track. it’s helped stop frequent meltdowns and daytime thumb-sucking. we’re huge believers!

  42. Ashley says...

    I remember when I was a kid falling asleep every night by thinking of all the people I loved and sending them a kiss. Thanks for reminding me of the power of these positive, quiet thoughts at night.

  43. I started meditating a little over a year ago and it totally changed my life. So much so that about two months ago, I started meditating with my 3.5 year old at bedtime. It’s been amazing! One time I was saying – with that breathy meditation voice – relax your hips, relax your belly, relax your heart…. At which point she stoop up her bed and asked – oh so seriously – Relax my FARTS?!

    • Jenny Webb says...

      Bahahaha literally laughed out loud.

    • Jamie Stephens says...

      I’m so glad I started reading the comments. I love COJ readers and responses and this was the perfect story to end my night with laughter!! Thank you for sharing this Petya.

    • Haha! SUCH a 3.5-year-old thing to say! I’ve thought about starting this with my 3.5-year-old daughter but thought maybe she was too young? She’s seen me meditating though, so she’s not unfamiliar. If you have any tips for getting them started at this age, please let me know.

    • Tumtum says...

      Hahaha….when one relaxes one is bound to let some air out.

  44. MC says...

    When I was 7 our class would do a guided meditation once a week. It was a straightforward breathing exercise and body scan. I loved it so much my mother bought the cassette. The breathing exercise alone has helped me so much throughout my life. It calmed a 10-year old’s stage fright before a recital, it helped a 15-year old control emotions when she’d get disappointing test results back, it helped a 20-year old not panic during stressful university exams. I even did it when giving birth to my babies! To this day – 30+ years later – I still remember the script by heart and can run it in my head when I have trouble falling asleep. It has been a life-long gift and I’ve so been looking forward to sharing it with my kids! If anyone is still hesitating after all these glowing reviews, do yourself a favour and try it!

    • Amy says...

      I’d love to hear about the one that you use, I wonder if it’s available digitally?

  45. Julie says...

    My mom used to list everyone who loved me. I do it sometimes too. so sweet!

  46. Toby needs (as in, “we need”) his own YouTube channel and self-help branding.

  47. Emily says...

    We have a two year old and a truck we learned from Sesame Street is to have them take a few deep breaths and then say goodnight to all of the body parts. Goodnight toes. Goodnight feet…. it doesn’t usually put him to sleep but it does calm him down.

  48. Taylor de Sa says...

    We started listening to five minute guided meditations a couple of years ago. My older daughter (6) is autistic and autistic women are prone to mental health challenges so I wanted her to have a toolbox of coping strategies. Now it’s a part of our routine and the girls ask to listen to their “relaxings” ❤

  49. NM says...

    After some challenging and drawn out bed time rituals with my little ones (7 and 2.5), today I gave the mediation a try.
    They were really focused and quiet with the breathing part. And then we went into the love part— thinking about who we love… and then feeling ourselves full of love…
    And then my 2.5 year old says:
    Yes and full of soup. And full of oatmeal. And full of…
    Well, it was a long and very thought out list of everything she’d eaten that day. Her big brother was pretty patient.
    So— a win. :)

    • CandiceZ says...

      This made us laugh out loud. And as W said “that’s pretty relatable.” 🙂
      I think CupofJo readers and commenters are my tribe lol.

  50. Em says...

    I am an avid meditator and this is making my heart siiiiing! I don’t have kids and I don’t know if I would have even taken to meditation if it was introduced to me as a kid, but it’s been such a positive force in my life, I wish I would have found it sooner. Reading Anton’s guided meditation is so so sweet! <3

  51. Sage says...

    This is the sweetest :) Haven’t done meditation yet but often list all the people in our lives who love my son. It is such a gentle way to wind down the day, and I hope it always affirms to him how wanted and wonderful he is.

  52. A says...

    Yes! We switch between our own and “beachcomber” on the headspace app and it’s made a world of difference! Sometimes we do a “get the wiggles out time” before the meditation where we crazily move up the body starting with our feet and wiggle as fast as we possibly can until we reach our heads and then stop all at once. Then we go through it again, but calmly, slowly noticing and relaxing /sinking into the bed from toes to head. A friend told me her husband used to say their kids turned into shooting stars right before bed – the energy explosion that the anticipation of sleeping would bring. I always loved that image and knowing that this happens to most kids – even without soda before bed!

  53. I don’t even know what I’m more impressed by – the fact that your kids have not had coke until their current mature ages or their ability to lead meditation! #parentingwin!

  54. em says...

    no kids here but this is soooo stinking adorable! I’ve been a softie on myself during the pandemic, especially as stress has wrecked my appetite, so it’s chips for me – the crunch helps get out the jaw tension :) CRUNCH!

    • Miruska says...

      You and me both EM. I am such sucker for chips and have been pretty easy on myself for the last few weeks when it comes to that habit. oof.

  55. BeckyB says...

    Since the beginning of this distance-learning school year, I’ve been sitting with my kids (7 & 9) for a 3 minute meditation before they log into their first Zoom class. I needed something to help transition from home to school mode, and I think it helps. We either just sit and breathe quietly, or the kids have a finger labyrinth they can use. I use the Insight Timer app and they take turns picking the beginning and ending chime for the day.

    They don’t love that I make them do this, and my strictness about making them do it sometimes feels counterintuitive to the peace it’s supposed to generate. But, I did catch my 7 yr old teaching the 3 year old how to do it, so something is sticking!

    Lots of great ideas in the comments and I’ll be looking into some of these guided options!

  56. AJ says...

    That’s so lovely x

    I have a couple on Spotify I love. Nothing much happens – Bedtime stories for grown ups, is a real gem. Not full on meditation but so soothing. Got my through the first two lockdowns.

  57. Katie says...

    Thank you for this! My 10 year old has the hardest time falling asleep at night. I will try the meditation with her tonight for sure. I have a question though, for everyone recommending meditation apps/stories, how are your children listening to them? Are they wearing headphones? Do you leave your phone in their room? I feel like such a dinosaur that I can’t figure this out! Thank you for any and all advice!

    • Nicole says...

      My kids are too young to have their own phone—I leave it with them (locked) and retrieve it after they’ve fallen asleep!

    • Sage says...

      We don’t use a meditation app but we often play music or ambient noise through a Google speaker in my son’s room, and can control it from our phones.

    • Megan says...

      There are Bluetooth speakers that would allow you to play something from your phone without leaving the phone in the room…could be a good alternative to headphones or leaving your phone in your kid’s room!

    • Amy says...

      I have a small Anker bluetooth speaker that I set in the hallway (by all three kids’ rooms). That way I can still use my phone for catching up on work in the evening, while they listen to instrumental music. I think it was $30 and we frequently bring it to the deck, the kitchen, etc.

  58. EM says...

    That is so beautiful! For years when my boys were toddlers, and still occasionally, I would help them fall asleep with guided meditations like that. I would help them go through each part of their body, consciously making sure it is relaxed. Then I would list every relative and friend who loves them. Sometimes we would also list all the woodland creatures who were asleep in their nests or homes. They really liked the personal attention, and it definitely relaxed them to hear a soft, whispering voice leading them through a relaxing list like that.

  59. Katie says...

    I’ve joked with friends that I’ve outsourced the bedtime routine to podcasts, but our whole house loves Peace Out. Our little one listened to it during rest time at preschool, and we started using it at home at bedtime when she was wound up. Now she and her older sister listen to it most nights as they fall asleep, and it’s put me to sleep a few nights, too!

  60. Suzanne says...

    One night I tried an app’s meditation for kids with my two kiddos (age 4 and 7). Something about the new-age-y music made them catch contagious giggles, and all hopes of relaxation and quiet were lost. :P One thing my oldest likes is to close his eyes and I gently name different birds and do little taps, peckschirps, hoot-hoots, and tweets on his face and arms. He asks for ‘birdies’ almost every night lately.

    • beautiful post. love this!

  61. Julie says...

    I did this for years with my girl, it was our bedtime routine. She’s 16 now and still asks for it a few times a week! I hope she never stops.

  62. Lauren E. says...

    This made me relaxed just reading it.

  63. Julie says...

    I did this for years with my girl, it was our bedtime routine. She’s 16 now and still asks for it a few times a week!

  64. Kari says...

    This is all lovely and made my heart swell. But also… I need to know more about their FIRST COKES?! I’m a bit shocked because I likely was drinking soda at an inappropriately early age (it was the 80s, it came with a Happy Meal! *shrug*) But was this a really special thing for them? Like have they been wanting to try coke but haven’t because of house rules, or have they just never been that interested in soda? What was their reaction? I’m so intrigued! :)

    • Kate says...

      I didn’t have coke until I was probably Anton’s age or maybe even older! I had root beer and sprite, and I guess I’d tried some of the “healthy” soda (Blue Sky cream soda, anyone?) but I don’t think there was ever a can of soda in my house growing up. Maybe on the 4th of July someone brought some in a cooler, but I think it’s safe to say I tried sips of my dad’s beer well before I ever had my own Coke!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha well, they’ve definitely had more than their fair share of cookies, cakes, brownies, ice cream, etc. etc., but we’ve just had a rule against Cokes because of the caffeine (probably because I’ve long been extra sensitive to caffeine myself). but they’ve begged over the years and finally I acquiesced. they were so excited and felt very cool/grown up. :)

    • Elena says...

      My daughter is seven and is dying to try Coca Cola and I am standing firm: not yet. It feels like Pandora’s box to me… something that cannot be undone, and also, I love to hear her ask for it. We live in Miami and she says it with a Miami accent of sort and it sounds so exotic coming from my blonde haired, blue-eyed child. As far as being a pandemic softie… I feel you Joanna! I just broke down and we now have gum around. (She loves it, I feel otherwise) Also, the after-dinner square of chocolate has turned into, “What baked goods may I have for dessert tonight?” 🤦‍♀️ Stay strong ladies!

    • suki says...

      I don’t think I had soda until high school – it’s definitely not for kids! There are 10 – 10!!! tsp of white, processed, gmo sugar in there along with a healthy dose of caffeine, chemical colors and flavors that seriously mess with the liver. None of those things is appropriate for growing bodies that rely on parental guidance to meet nutritional needs.

    • Suzanne says...

      We buy the tiny glass bottles of Coke around Christmas and my boys get them as a VERY special treat for holidays or family events, which they love. (Ahem, the burps are a very exciting bonus to the drink itself.)

  65. shade says...

    I recently bought a screen free meditation device for our 7 year old. It’s cute, in the shape of a turtle and he can easily choose from about 8 or 9 prerecorded meditations. They range from falling asleep to practicing empathy. Each meditation ends with “you are a good kid” – which we both love. It’s called zenimal. Highly recommend.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      this sounds so lovely.

  66. Courtney Cooper says...

    What a great way to chase away the pandemic-induced worries and grumpies that tend to pile up at night…

  67. Sarah says...

    You are a great mom Jo X

  68. Katie says...

    The Calm App is amazing! We use the guided meditations for kids and the sleep stories at bedtime. We also have some Mindful Kids: 50 Mindfulness Activities for Kindness, Focus, and Calm Cards I got on Amazon that are a cheaper, great option too.

  69. Katherine Y says...

    Thank you so much! I will do this tonight. I have read this blog since I was first pregnant (with twins, now about to turn 9!). Now I have three sons and I regularly put into action so much of what I learn here. This community is a great treasure.

  70. Tanya says...

    I have loved so many posts here and found so many incredibly useful, but this might be my favoritest favorite! Rooting for all of us as we navigate parenting … the thrills of unexpected treats, the calm before falling asleep, the big and little life lessons and countless precious moments in between.

  71. Sarah says...

    Tears. So beautiful. Thank you for sharing this moment with your family with all the rest of us. My 3 1/2 year old has gotten into yoga this year thanks to Cosmic Kid Yoga. And we’ve recently integrated these cards at bedtime. https://www.littlerenegades.com/ We do one at random a night. I think I might flip the script into some of the things you mentioned in this post.

  72. Jessa says...

    Weighted blankets are amazing for bedtime too, like a big hug! I bought one for myself then promptly ordered another for my kid.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oooh yes!!! we love weighted blankets here, too!

    • Ramya says...

      Any suggestions for a good, year-round weighted blanket for kids?

  73. Catherine says...

    Well few years back when my child was still in kindergarten she used to have a weekly yoga lesson designed for little ones and she adored it.
    And then I felt on the book “Stilzitten als een kikker ” by Eline Snel, it has been translated in English “sitting still like a frog” and it is fantastic, you can do it with your children but then can also do it by themselves.
    We had that ritual on Saturday mornings while I was in the kitchen preparing the breakfast my daughter would have her meditation moment and it worked like a charm :-)

  74. Elise says...

    I love this! I can’t wait to read everyone’s comments and experiences with meditation. I met with a family therapist after my ex and I separated, and she recommended I try meditation both individually and with my kids. My ten year-old at the time rolled his eyes, and my five year-old giggled through the first few tries, but it soon became a comforting and healing ritual for all of us. It helped my kids (and me!) feel calm, safe, and grounded, and it was empowering to remember that even when things feel out of our control, we have the ability to control ourselves.

  75. Paige says...

    I’ve been doing meditations with my wriggly three-year-old for the past few weeks. I started it to ward off bad dreams (there was a particularly scary big chicken that kept terrorizing his dreams). In our meditations these days, I ask him visualize happy scenes like running into my arms after coming down the big, BIG slide at the park. I just love it.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “running into my arms after coming down the big, BIG slide at the park” = <3 <3 <3

  76. Mac says...

    Wow, Anton! I’m going to use some of his ideas.

    “Breathe and Be” is a mindfulness book my kids all really like. My super physical 3 yo son is *very* into doing some Sesame Street Monster Meditations before bed. My mother in law could be described, in one word, as frenetic. My 5 yo is highly sensitive and really affected by the energy of people around her. Early last year she said to her, grandma…when you have so much to do, breathe in, breathe out, count 1-2, THEN do. That’s from a monster meditation!

  77. lisa says...

    Meditation also helps my kids fall asleep. Sometimes I narrate and other times we listen to Sleep Well for Kids. We use the Calm app on occasion, but find that typically meditation works much better.

  78. caitlin says...

    this is fantastic! are you familiar with the kids book series “I am” by Susan Verde? they are fantastic with different themes (I am human, I am peace, I am yoga, I am one, etc.) and have amazing meditations at the end. and i just discovered other resources on her website: https://www.susanverde.com/free-teachers-guides-and-activities

  79. annie says...

    You are a gorgeous human and a wonderful mother xxx

  80. Michelle C says...

    Hahahaha! I’ve totally made the Coke mistake before, but never again.

    I bought our kids a Zenimal, which is a turtle shaped device with various 3 minute meditations. I’m surprise by how much they love it (they are 6 & 8) but listening to it from across the hall gives me peace, too. “You had a busy day and now your body needs rest” “You are a good kid”. They seem so obvious and a good reminder for me on what to share.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Love.

    • Amy says...

      Zenimal!? Googling! That sounds brilliant!

  81. Jen says...

    I hope you listed me – Jen – as someone who loves them.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      <3

  82. Olivia Jane says...

    I will absolutely be trying this with my sleep-challenged almost-4-year-old who inherited her my can’t-stop-thinking brain. Currently, when I need to help her redirect her thoughts from Scary Things (“What if a fox jumps through the window screen and the glass and is in my room but I can’t come get you because there’s glass on the floor?!”), we’ve been doing what we affectionately call Purple Cat Cupcakes. I ask her to close her eyes and picture two purple kitty cats (favorite color, favorite animal) who need her help to bake and decorate cupcakes. I talk her through the baking — “First measure out two cups of flour — one, two — and then a cup of sugar…” and then I leave when they “go in the oven.” Her job then is to think about all the ways she’ll help the cats decorate the cupcakes when they’re done baking. It helps give her vivid imagination a silly cheerful task to hook into, and she knows that I leave while they’re baking. It’s been a great help for us, but…sometimes I’m just really sick of describing baking cats. Will be adding the meditation to our bag of tricks.

    • Sarah says...

      I need to do this for myself lol

    • Meg says...

      This is genius. Also laughing at getting sick of baking cats. I may try this with flying unicorns for my 4 year old. Where they fly, what they see… thanks for the idea and the laugh.

    • Gabrielle says...

      This is so beautiful and loving. <3

    • L says...

      Haha “but…sometimes I’m just really sick of describing baking cats“ – hilarious! You sound like a great and patient mom!

  83. Stella says...

    My kids do yoga through a local non-profit, Yogi Squad, and they recently have loved meditating at night time. Here is a link to YouTube Yogi Squad videos where the leader reads stories and combines yoga movements for children.

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHjONCnmBR_nOym3f7UpSyw

  84. Rachel says...

    I love to use a bedtime mediation from the app InsightTimer or simply focusing on a few cycles of diaphragmatic breathing when I’m having a hard time falling asleep. In addition to helping me sleep, I find that I don’t wake up with a sore jaw as often since I’m not stress-grinding my teeth as much. I learned about diaphragmatic breathing and meditation in school (physical therapy) since we use it to help patients relax and connect to their bodies better.

  85. Listing everyone who loves them- be still my heart! What a sweet thing to do. I’m stealing this!

  86. tyler says...

    this brought back memories of my mom doing guided mini-meditations for me at bedtime.

  87. Abbey Strusz says...

    I used to list out everyone who loves my little foster baby every night to her at bedtime. Good for her, good for me. So peaceful. I should start again!

  88. Vertie says...

    We use Headspace for my 10 year old. We don’t do it every night but when he’s having trouble getting to sleep, he asks for Andy, who narrates the meditation. Andy starts the meditation with “ Hi, this is Andy.”

    • Kristin Vogel says...

      Headspace has a new series on Netflix…I have been meaning to watch it as I love the app so much (and it’s free for teachers!)

  89. Courtney says...

    I went through virtual training to become a kids yoga teacher in May. Gathering with 12 beautiful souls from all over the country each Tuesday and Thursday for 5 weeks was definitely my covid silver lining.

    Yesterday I started teaching my first long term class virtually and I am beyond grateful for the opportunity. To see these 9-11 years olds talk about what color they are feeling, and expressing gratitude for each body party while laying in stillness makes me giddy. Children who grow up with thoughtful movement and mindfulness as the norm are SO lucky .

    • Sarz says...

      Wow, what an incredible job you have, Courtney! Helping the next generation become physically and mentally healthier is truly making the world a better place.

  90. Emma says...

    Awe that almost brought me to tears too! Those babies are the sweetest!
    My 19 month old has a cold and when he started falling asleep at 9:30 AM and I asked the universe what I should do, my four year old said, “Put him to bed in his bed. And then the rest of the day we will sing him songs, read him books, and give him whatever he wants to keep him happy.” I teared up a little then too. It was so practical and encouraging and it’s just what we did.

    • Olivia Jane says...

      Love when the big siblings drop the wisdom!

  91. Katie says...

    Until reading this article I completely forgot this is how I would get my wound up babies and toddlers to calm down for sleep. I would in a slow and calming voice list all the people who loved them until they drifted off to sleep. “Aunt Sarah loves you, Daddy loves you, Uncle Mitch loves you…” and it was wonderful too as we had faraway relatives they didn’t see often and I loved the thought of that person being someone they could think of as they fell to sleep. It was beautiful and I never thought of it as a form of meditation until now. Thank you Cup of Jo!

  92. Heather says...

    I love this! I actually do a shorter version of this with my girls (although Anton is inspiring me to make it longer) in part because my dad did this for me 30+ years ago. I was an anxious kid and would have dreams about my parents dying which made me terrified of bed time. His solution was to first tell me what I termed ‘olden day stories’ about his childhood and then to do a version of this meditation.

    I became so dependent on it that when the time came for my first sleep away camp, I was incredibly nervous. So my dad actually recorded it all on a tape and gave it to me as a gift. It makes me cry just thinking about it – laying in bed at that camp and putting my headphones on – just being comforted by my dad’s voice.

    • Olivia Jane says...

      Beautiful! Do you still have the tape??

    • Mariana says...

      This is so sweet! What a wonderful father!

    • Sarz says...

      I’ve heard it said that we should stop glorifying fathers for well, doing their job. Respectfully, I disagree. Parenting is the toughest job in the world, and anyone who excels at it deserves praise. What a lovely human he sounds like. <3

    • Quinn says...

      Oh my goodness – how wonderful. Your dad sounds amazing.

    • Anna says...

      What a father!

    • Heather says...

      @Olivia Jane – Gosh that would have been great, but I didn’t! But that gives me a good idea to at least record him when we’re over for a slumber party with my girls since he does it for them as well. I do have a picture of him from our monitor where he’s just laying in bed next to my youngest because she wanted him to say until she fell asleep.

      And also just to add – my own routine with my girls has benefited so much from Cup of Jo – I have stolen so many of y’alls ideas and incorporated them. We say “I love you dearly, I love you clearly – I love you every day and every way – I love you no matter what you do – I love every version of you – I love you to the moon and back” (I basically couldn’t limit myself!).

      Repeating that daily has been amazing – I can always point back to it when I’m frustrated and/or they’re in trouble and can hear them saying it to each other even when they resolve fights. So thankful for every nugget of advice we get on here.

  93. Grace Farris says...

    Awww I love this! My 8 year old once launched into a meditation with “imagine you are as light as a piece of paper…”

  94. anon says...

    My child is on the spectrum, so a mindfulness meditation is difficult, though we try breathing techniques. One thing I stumbled across that has helped is to have her say, slowly, the alphabet backwards. If that doesn’t calm her or put her into sleepy mode, she starts counting backwards from 100. It works just like mindfulness meditation in that it slows her breathing and heartbeat. In fact, it works so well that I do it every night in bed myself!

    • Kirstin says...

      My kid too – we used to try meditations but he would be so stressed out – his body would just freak under the pressure. I felt like such a beast. Now I make up stories – they’re really quite boring (intentionally). I tell him we live two hundred years ago and our ship docks in Sydney harbour. We have to buy a cart, and full it with he food we need before the three day ride to where his dad is waiting on our new farm, nestled in a valley. I list all the food we buy (flour, sugar, coffee, tea, candles, blankets etc – everything that comes to mind for we only shop a few times a year) then we have the long slow journey and sleep at night under the starts, if it is raining we need to stop under trees. It’s very slow, there is no action… and he fails to sleep. Sometimes our journey is beset with rain so we wrap blankets around our shoulders, sometimes we have a dog. It ends with our arrival, dad puts the tired horse in the barn and gives it some yummy hay, we drink hot chocolate by the freezer inside our new home. The boring nature of the story suggests the qualities of a meditation I hope, but not the stress of one.

    • Lisa says...

      The Sleep Well for Kids meditations are great. They are a boring story about a farm and the ocean. My kids have heard these a thousand times and usually don’t make it more than 7 mins listening. It just soothes them so well.

  95. Heidi says...

    When my daughter was little, it was hard to explain to her how to take deep breaths without her holding them with high shrugged shoulders! Someone told me to tell them to put their index finger in front of their lips and visualize it as a flower/candle-smell the flower (big sniff) and then blow out the candle (exhale) and then repeat. We still do this when we are trying to calm our breath and slow down. Slow, soothing voice, “Let’s take some breaths… smelllll the flower…. and bloowwww out the candle.” Works like a charm.

    • Emily says...

      I have been struggling with this for my 3 year old and I am trying this now! Thank you!!!

    • Fiona says...

      My work friend has a little boy who learned something similar at school – “smell the soup, blow on the soup” – our team uses it regularly when we’re feeling frustrated and burnt out – Kai is our team yogi!

  96. Beth says...

    We absolutely LOVE the sleep stories on the Calm app! My four year old falls asleep to them every night. They are told in very soft, calm voices and some have fun characters from fairy tales or Thomas the Tank Engine. It’s a fun way to trick them into calming down. My favorite stories are the ones told by Nick Offerman and Matthew McConaughey; it’s just so funny to hear them lead a meditative track. :D

  97. Sophie says...

    My 5-year-old takes a long time to fall asleep, and was getting out of bed every night to say she was scared or make a request, and then a friend suggested the New Horizon sleep meditations (e.g. The Magical Sleep Train). They’re really lovely. So now she gets to pick one on the iPad (they have an app) every night and she almost always stays in bed and falls asleep listening. I love the idea of doing it together. Though sometimes outsourcing is helpful :)

  98. Cosmic Kids Yoga Peace Outs (short, guided meditations for children, on topics including worry and fears) are excellent – look for them on YouTube. We listen to one before bed each night and they also regularly listen to them at my children’s school (in the UK) x

  99. Ann says...

    Yes, I did this with my boys too! It was a beachy meditation that I had learned in a yoga class at the Y. I could never find it online so I just kind of tried to remember it and embellished as needed. It was like a walking on the beach, and looking at the water, feeling the wind on your face, wading in the water, then sleeping in the sun on your beach towel! I also enrolled my boys in mediation classes when they were in middle school so they could learn to meditate by themselves. It works!!!!

  100. Kim says...

    I love that Anton knew meditation enough to lead you all!

    When my 3-year-old and I are at the end of our wits with one another (frequently at bed- or naptime), I list to him all of the reasons he is awesome. There are days when it’s hard to start, but by the time we’re at the 20th item on our list, we are both feeling a lot better.

    Also, he always gets his dessert before dinner. He thinks I’m awesome for it, but really it’s because after dinner, a piece of candy cane will keep us up until 11!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      <3 <3 <3

    • Olivia Jane says...

      Love listing all the reasons they’re awesome — especially when patience is thin. Reminds me of my mom’s advice when I got married: “You are promising to love him. That’s a verb. You may not always like your spouse, but you must always work to love him.” Ditto for kids.

    • Cass says...

      I love this.

      I work with a physician who always eats dessert before dinner because “you never know what could happen and then you’ll have missed dessert” so I say it’s doctor-approved.

  101. Sue Harris says...

    I subscribe to Headspace and regularly use their sleep meditations to help me relax enough to fall asleep. I believe they also have meditations for children. We also have yoga nidra recordings from our yoga studio and use those as well. I have a shorter version for a yoga nidra “nap” that I use during the day if I feel tired or stressed.

  102. Ellen says...

    I love this so much! <3

  103. Emma says...

    Ohhh this is bringing back memories of a ritual my parents used to do when I was child. Every night at bedtime, after reading a book together, we would do “check out.” They would name my bones (which, uh, sounds weird out of context). Example: they would wiggle my toes and fingers and say “Phalanges,” and tap my kneecaps and say “patella.”

    Hahaha, I haven’t thought about that in years! How on earth and why did they come up with that?? They’re both teachers so maybe it was their sly way of helping me learn anatomy vocab???

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      So cute!

  104. Susan Rousseau says...

    I’ve found something incredibly helpful that works for me. And this may sound weird coming from an adult, but….I say goodnight to all of my body parts, from head to toes. I thank them for the day and tell them it’s time to sleep. Weird, but it’s been working! I used to take hours to turn my brain off, but now I fall asleep so much quicker and so much easier!

    • J. says...

      I love this, Susan- thank you so much for sharing!! I do something quite similar and try to relax every single body part one by one (and get really specific – I’m not positive you can relax your pinky toe or clavicles in isolation but THEY EACH GET THEIR SPECIAL MOMENT!) I’ve recently started getting very into yoga on the Peloton app (Aditi is my favorite <3) and even in a short period of time, it has transformed how thankful I am to my body for what it does for me each day. I love the idea so much of saying a special and loving goodnight to them; I will try that tonight!!!

  105. Megan Thomas says...

    We have done mediation stories on Spotify (Kid’s meditation by Sada) and my littles love them. We do it every night and I think it helps get them ready for sleep.

  106. K says...

    My son, who is 9, has had trouble falling asleep recently. We started listening to meditations on the Peloton app at bedtime and it has done wonders for him! He asks for one every night now.

  107. Katie S. says...

    Yes! I have used meditation for myself for bedtime and really at different times all throughout the day, but my favorite time to meditate is with my kindergarten students right before play workshop! They don’t always gets their first choice for a play area, and I’ve noticed that meditating before helps curb disappointment. Their favorite meditation is one I made up called The Blob. It’s really playful and fun. Adults love The Blob too! Meditating with kids gives them life tools! Cannot say enough good things about it!

  108. Stephanie says...

    Our oldest, age 7, often struggled to fall asleep despite his best efforts.

    In October, I was listening to a chapter in The Self-Driven Child audiobook all about challenging parents to let kids have more control over their day.

    I had a total lightbulb moment! Ordered a clip-on, rechargeable light for his bedside shelf and wrapped it up as a birthday gift. We made a BIG deal about the moment.

    We said, “You’re 7 now! That means you’re old enough to decide when you’re ready to fall asleep. As long as you’re quiet and stay in bed, you can use this light to read or draw until you’re ready to fall asleep.”

    I kid you not this changed EVERYTHING. He loves staying up late to read, keeps (mostly) quiet so as not to disturb his brother on the lower bunk, and ends up going to sleep much earlier than he used to–now without frustration on his part or ours. Yay!

    Our 4-year-old is begging for a light and the freedom to choose his bedtime too and–am I crazy?–I think we’re going to get him one. :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      That is amazing. Love this.

    • Agnès says...

      That is such a sign of trust, it s wonderful. When i was a child i would prétend to fall asleep and then turn the light on and read until i fell asleep…

    • Michaela says...

      I love that! One nugget to think about — how you message it to your older son. As an older child, I remember often feeling frustrated that things I thought I earned got given to my younger brother earlier. Since you made a big deal about turning seven, maybe something to consider.

      For example, maybe letting him know he’s set such a good example that you’d like to let his little brother follow his lead. Or admitting that he’s done so well you wish you’d permitted it sooner. Etc. I’m sure there’s other mommas out there with better tips.

    • Mac says...

      We do the same thing! My girls just turned 6 and 9. I tell them I can be a good mom for 12 hours a day, but that’s all I’ve got in me. So if they get up at 5:30 am, they’ll be settled in their room at 5:30 pm.
      They have their own beds, but usually sleep in one together even though my 9 year old tends to go to sleep much earlier. My 6 is highly sensitive and seems to really need and appreciate that quiet time to herself. She has a basket next to the bed with books and Melissa and Doug puffy stickers which she plays with for a few minutes to an hour then puts on her eye mask and goes right to sleep. We have a bedtime routine we do together, but I hope they are learning the skill of recognizing feeling sleepy and honoring that.

    • Stephanie says...

      Michaela, Thank you for your thoughtful message! I was the oldest as well and what you mention is the main reason I’ve hesitated in getting a light for our 4-year-old. I definitely remember feeling annoyed when my big-kid privileges were bestowed on my younger siblings. I love your ideas for communicating it with my oldest, especially as I genuinely do wish we’d done it sooner. Lots to think about–and always appreciate good ideas like these. Open to more! Thanks!

  109. Emily m says...

    Yes! Smiling mind is a free app that has adult and kids guided meditations including bedtimes ones- highly recommend!

  110. Blythe says...

    This is so timely! We’re working on stopping and taking deep breaths with our 17-month-old when he gets frustrated or upset. This feels like such a natural evolution of that practice!

    • Jennifer says...

      Bedtime prayers are the ritual in our house and it is as calming for me as for the kids. NOT that ‘Now I lay me down to sleep’ prayer, I should add, though I know some people really love it (that bit about ‘dying before I wake’ always freaked me out, as a highly imaginative and anxious kid). Just an honest chat with God about the day and a blessing on all our loved ones…

  111. Yes!!! There is a podcast called Bedtime Explorers I do often with my five year old. It’s like a meditation in disguise as a story!

    • Kristina says...

      We do that one too! Love it.

  112. Y says...

    I did the breathing part of the meditation with my daughter when she was a baby when she would get so tired she could not fall asleep. I would breathe loudly through my nose and make a loud shhhing sound out through my mouth over and over until her breathing started to mimic mine and then lights out! She’s 17 now and when she gets squirrly, I do that to her and she yells at me to stop cuz it makes her tired! Haha!

  113. Diana says...

    My dad always did guided meditations for me when I was having trouble falling asleep. It helped so much with my anxious little self. I still have the deepest sleep when I fall asleep listening to a guided meditation. When my daughter is having trouble getting scary thoughts out of her head at bed time she likes it when I walk her through a visualization of being surrounded by soft, snoozing puppies. It seems to push the bad thoughts out of her head.

  114. Louisa says...

    I’ve got a little pod of 4 1st graders and today we listened to the Moshi app (I use it at night with my daughter). They went from WILD to calm and one little guy fell asleep! So good.

  115. riye says...

    My yoga teacher introduced us to four pebble meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh. She said it was designed for kids to quiet minds and bodies. I love it. To make it fun we use a small felt flower(freshness), pebble (stability), glass marble (calm reflection), and wooden bead (space). All the items go in a little bag in preparation for the next session. Here’s a better explanation.

    https://dailymeditate.com/the-pebble-meditation-technique/

  116. Yelena says...

    Have you heard of Headspace? It’s an app and now it’s also a show on Netflix with animations accompanying the guided meditation. Highly recommend for kiddos and adults alike!

  117. Court says...

    Love this. I’m also here to add that the COVID pandemic time has become a time where my household, which prior to now this would have never happened, is now a place where Oreos are regularly stocked and consumed especially by little mouths when you just need an Oreo. You do what you need to do!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Yes!! And nightly Lindt chocolate for me!

  118. megan says...

    I love to meditate and taught my little girl when she was about 2 or 3. In addition to helping her sleep, it is also a great way to teach kids to “self soothe”. When she would get herself in a little bit of trouble, and i would threaten her with a time out, she would respond “I JUST NEED TO MEDITATE” (which was basically a time out, but her idea).

  119. Gemma says...

    How sweet! This brought back a lovely memory.
    I had completely forgotten, but my mum used to do this with me all the time when I was little and too scared or antsy to fall asleep. In our meditation she would go through the body -like a scan- and talk me through, first, relaxing and then “making heavy” all my limbs.

    If I shut my eyes I can hear her voice… today i miss her in the warmest way. Thank you!

  120. celeste says...

    A lot better than the squirrely tweens excited to go back to school in person this morning. I yelled. :( Thanks J.

  121. allison says...

    I don’t have kids, but I do have anxiety and trouble sleeping (have for years) and nothing has helped me so much as the Calm app. They have guided meditations and body scans specifically for sleep, as well as “sleep stories” for both adults and kids, read slowly and calmly. I rarely make it a few minutes in before I’m dozing.

  122. Nora Frank-Cisneros says...

    Yes! There is a really wonderful author that made guided meditation books for children, her name is Maureen Garth. They are called Starbright, another is called Moonbeam and a third is Earthlight. My daughters love them! They are so magical and soothing.

  123. Kirsty says...

    My dear friend taught me a wonderful yoga nidra script to use with my eight year old son – who has ADHD and emotional dysregulation – and it works wonders! Those soft, childlike snores come fast.

  124. bj says...

    oh man. for some reason, reading this made me tear up. i guess we can all use some grounding and reminders that we are loved these days. :) <3

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      <3 <3 <3

  125. Anne S says...

    I love this so much. I’m absolutely going to meditate with my kids, I can’t imagine how different my childhood would have been if I’d had that moment of peace every day. Last week I was horribly anxious every day, paranoid about my heath and on the verge of a panic attack. I started doing the Headspace meditations on Netflix and it’s like my brain was reset – something so simple seems like it shouldn’t be so powerful, but it is!

  126. Michelle says...

    For littler kids, the book Dozy Bear and the Secret of Sleep is a GREAT bedtime relaxation/meditation. We always read it at the end of stories and it is like magic.

  127. Kate says...

    My little one used to have nightmares all the time, and to get her back to sleep, we would make a list of all of our favourite things, Sound of Music-style:

    “Apples! Fuzzy blankets! The smell of chicken soup!”

    The nightmares have long since stopped, but we still recite our favourite things every time one of the two of us is upset or needs to “simmer down” a little.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is so, so sweet!

    • Marianne says...

      We do this too! We sing “My Favourite Things” then our son likes to list his. Last night was mummy, daddy, his underground train, post office (from Santa) and the baby in mummy’s tummy. Makes my hearty swell!

  128. Dawn says...

    Beautiful!

  129. Lorraine says...

    We often read the “Goodnight Yoga” book at bedtime, and my 4-year-old loves the meditation at the end, the Cloud Journey Visualization. I’m always surprised when she is able to really get in the zone and do the breathing exercises correctly! I guess at that point in the day she’s truly exhausted so it’s complementary.

  130. Jenny T. says...

    Love this! Sesame Street has some really wonderful guided meditations for littles on the Headspace app. My daughter always says, “Mom, this isn’t working!” and then two minutes later is conked out.

    She also reminds me when I’m doing too much – “Mom, Grover says in the meditation to do one thing at a time!”

  131. Amanda says...

    Meditation is sometimes the only way I can get to sleep! I subscribe to Headspace and they have a few good meditations for powering down, plus some ambient noises you can play if that helps. (There’s one that’s a recording of a quiet car ride, and maybe it’s accessing the part of my brain from when I was a baby and apparently could only sleep while in a moving car, but that one works like a charm.)

  132. Kaitlin says...

    In a vintage Sesame Street episode, Ernie tells Bert (who can’t sleep) to
    imagine doing something he loves. Bert imagines figure skating. It’s such a peaceful image of gliding that I’ve fallen back to a few times this winter.

    Our other meditation focus at bedtime is the phrase “you are safe, and you are loved.” The other day, I reminded my 2 year old that she is loved and she repeated back “and I am safe”

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s really beautiful. xo

    • Whitney says...

      This comment made me cry. Admittedly, I’m a new mom so it’s not hard to do that these days! But I am also a therapist and I can’t help but think of all the clients I’ve had who were never made to feel safe as children. If all parents did this I would probably be out of a job! You’re a great mom. Your daughter is lucky to have you.

    • Olivia Jane says...

      Yes! We have a little button that you can record 30 seconds onto, so I sang Twinkle Twinkle and then ended with our “special words”: “You are safe, you are loved, Mom and Dad will always keep you safe. We love you.” Our 3yo keeps it next to her bed and can press it as much as she needs to.

    • J. says...

      This made me teary, too! To know you are safe and loved is such a universal gift and balm. Is it too cheesy to say I feel like/hope everyone feels safe and loved on COJ/this comment section?!

    • Em says...

      Whew, I am full-out crying at this combination of Kaitlin and Whitney’s comments <3

      I'm not a mom but I'm an adult in therapy working to grow from a childhood where I didn't always feel safe/loved. When I'm lying awake in bed with my mind running, I always repeat to myself, "I'm safe, I am loved, I am doing a good job." I aim it straight at the little kid inside me who needed to hear that but didn't.

      Love and light to you moms out there, doing a beautiful job with your little ones! (And to therapists!)