Have you ever had to get an active energized child ready for bedtime and been met with resistance? Children naturally have a lot of energy and powering down to go to bed might be something they dread. A calming yoga for kids practice right before bed can help ease them into sleep and encourage healthy bedtime habits.
This article will focus on yoga-inspired bedtime ideas that parents and caregivers can incorporate into a child’s nightly ritual. Bedtime yoga for kids is a delightful way to end the day and deliver your child to the land of dreams.
Topics we will cover will be:
- Can all kids do bedtime yoga?
- 5 benefits of bedtime yoga for kids
- Why yoga calms kids
- 5 bedtime yoga ideas/ poses for kids
Have them grab their favorite toys or stuffed animals to join them on a bedtime yoga adventure and let’s dive right in!
Can all kids do bedtime yoga?
Yes! All children at any age can benefit from yoga before bedtime. It will help to calm their nerves after a long day of activity and get them ready for a good night’s sleep.
As a kids yoga teacher, I’ve been privileged to witness the wonders of yoga and how it can ground, calm, and creatively inspire children. It never ceases to amaze me how giving this practice can be at any stage of our life and at any time of the day.
5 benefits of bedtime yoga for kids
There are so many benefits to kids’ yoga but here are some just to name a few.
1. Improved focus and attention
Growing up I had a lot going on at home and this made it hard to focus my attention in school. Who can relate to this? In yoga, kids use the body as a tool to settle their energy and connect to themselves. They are able to practice controlled breathing in a safe environment and poses aim to relax and regulate the nervous system allowing for greater clarity and focus.
Yoga is the perfect outlet for children who naturally have a lot of pent-up energy and might not have a way of releasing it.
Children nowadays have jam-packed schedules putting a strain on their attention and causing them to disconnect. In yoga, there is no goal to get to. Children are invited to loosen their grip on doing and allow themselves to simply connect to their body and breath.
Children who struggle with ADHD can benefit from reduced levels of inattention and hyperactivity. Calming yoga for kids encourages every child to express themself and explore.
2. Reduced stress
Yoga helps children self-regulate their emotions, feelings, and behaviors reducing stress. It can be an outlet where they relax and slow down. A kid’s yoga class is about relaxation, expression, and creativity. Expect storytime, coloring, and singing!
Practicing a couple of yoga poses before bedtime or a gentle breathwork exercise will relax their nervous system and induce natural stress and anxiety release. By stretching their body they not only get some movement in but also shake out any residual energy from the day.
Related Article: Best Yoga Books For Babies and Kids
3. Improved listening skills
Listening is one of the most valuable skills to have to be a better communicator and there is no better time to start practicing than when you are a child. Kids yoga invites kids to listen to the teacher speak and also listen to their breath and body, their greatest teachers of all.
When children listen they are engaged. As you cue a yoga pose, challenge your kiddo to pay close attention and listen to proper instruction. If they start to disengage bring them back to their breath and repeat instructions.
Kids thrive when they are given clear instruction and over time listening skills will improve organically. Have patience and hold space for them to practice. Storytime after bedtime yoga is also a great time to practice listening!
4. Promote a peaceful and therapeutic night’s sleep
Kids may be balls of energy when they begin their bedtime yoga. Moving their bodies and breathing can help regulate their nervous system and slow down their heart rate preparing them for sleep.
Allowing a child to shake out their energy right before bed can lead to deeper sleep and fewer sleep disruptions.
5. Increased body awareness
Yoga doesn’t have to be another boring exercise for children. It can be a fun, imaginative time where they connect to their body, mind, and breath. Let your child know they are moving energy around in their bodies which plays a big role in how they are feeling.
Kids are dealing with a world of competition and comparison these days. During yoga, kids meet themselves where they are, create a dialogue with their body, and we as teachers hold the container for them to feel good about themselves. When we stand tall in our tree pose, it’s a confidence boost that makes kids feel rooted, and grounded. Often times it involves a lot of laughter and falling trees but it’s all about the practice anyways!
Yoga can be functional movement and belly laughs! A fun and expressive art that strengthens the body tones the mind, and speaks to the child’s spirit!
Why yoga calms kids
Yoga helps children self-regulate their emotions and calm the nervous system through movement and breath. There are tons of scientific data that shows how moving the body can increase well-being by allowing us to let go of energy which in turn relaxes us.
Yoga connects kids to their breath and body through fun shapes and imaginative play. It can be an outlet where they learn to relax and slow down. Incorporating bedtime yoga into a child’s daily night routine will help calm their nervous system and send a message to their body that it’s time to wind down.
Yoga can be blended into storytime, a drawing activity, or simply be imagination time. The sky is the limit and every child creates differently. Have fun with any of these poses or ideas and encourage children to make them their own. Have them connect to what feels good.
5 bedtime yoga ideas for kids
Inviting kids to move, imagine and play right before bed can help ease them into sleep and wind them down after a long day. Feel free to try any of these straight from bed but really anywhere will do!
1. Yoga and storytime
This doesn’t have to be complicated or long at all, it can be as simple as 1 or 2 yoga poses followed by storytime. Have your kiddo pick out the book of their choice and read it together. Mostly have fun imagining, exploring, and spending time together.
Yoga Sequence Inspiration (10 Bedtime Yoga Poses)
Try one of these or all of them then end with story time or do it reversed! Kids yoga is meant to be more whimsical and fun than an adult yoga class so be prepared to veer off the railroad tracks and express yourselves.
- Easy seat with shrug and sigh (shrugging the shoulders up to your ears on an inhale and sighing them down on the exhale)
- Gentle neck circles (ask them to imagine their favorite color on the tip of their nose as they draw circles with it.)
- Froggy Pose with jumping (Garland Pose)
- Butterfly (cobblers pose)
- Cactus arms with a gentle backbend
- Tree Pose
Kids yoga book suggestions:
2. Balloon Breath
This is a great breathing exercise right before bed because it grounds and calms a child who might have bedtime jitters. Feel free to do this breathing exercise with your child anytime throughout the day especially if they are feeling anxious.
- Imagine a balloon of your favorite color, it can be any color you want. Now imagine this balloon as your belly.
- As you inhale, expand the belly to inflate it like a balloon.
- As you exhale deflate the balloon entirely.
- Empty it completely out through the mouth or nose!
- Repeat this cycle a couple of times and ask your child to notice how they feel.
3. Practice Mindfulness of the Senses
In yoga, we talk a lot about this thing called mindfulness which a child might not need the textbook definition to. I like to explain it to them as the ability to notice what’s currently going on in your inner and outer world.
The cool thing about mindfulness is that it can be done anytime anywhere like when we brush our teeth or pet our dog. Come back to this fun little activity anytime you need to feel more grounded and in the present moment.
1. Acknowledge FIVE things you see around you. It could be a pen, a spot on the ceiling, anything in your surroundings.
2. Acknowledge FOUR things you can touch around you. It could be your hair, a pillow, or the ground under your feet.
3. Acknowledge THREE things you hear. This could be any external sound. If you can hear your belly rumbling that counts! Focus on things you can hear outside of your body.
4. Acknowledge TWO things you can smell. Maybe you are in your office and smell a pencil, or maybe you are in your bedroom and smell a pillow. If you need to take a brief walk to find a scent you could smell soap in your bathroom, or nature outside.
5. Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste. What does the inside of your mouth taste like—gum, coffee, or the sandwich from lunch?
4. Yoga and 5-10 minutes of drawing- something they love or are grateful for
Ask your kiddo to draw something they most love or something that inspired them for the day. It can be a drawing of anything.
5. Yoga and Gentle Lotion Massage
I can’t think of anything more soothing to a child than gentle yoga right before bed followed by a loving massage. Have them choose their favorite smell or lotion, and maybe diffuse some aromatherapy oils while you’re at it so your child feels like they are in a mini spa.
Run lotion on the soles of the feet, knee joints, elbows hands, and shoulders. Talk about their day or have them send gratitude and love to each body part as you massage each part with tender love and care.
We are living in a sedentary time. With the pandemic increasing screentime among children, there is evidence that shows the negative impact higher levels of screentime can have on children and teens. Now more than ever it’s important we encourage the children in our lives to move and connect to their breath.
If you have a child in your life and noticed they might be dealing with stress or anxiety it’s because they have a whole world going on that involves school, sports, hobbies, and figuring out their own identity in the world.
A calming yoga for kids practice can be a great tool parents, caregivers and teachers can use to connect children with their body, mind, and breath. It will calm, focus and engage them with their inner and outside world.
There is no right or wrong with any of these. Whatever one you decide to try may it serve you and your kiddo for the highest good. Remember to let them know they can do any one of the yoga poses anytime they are feeling big emotion or simply to chill.
Have fun playing!! Let us know how it goes in the comments below!
After More Kid Yoga Inspo?
Check out this article for a deep dive and explanation of 6 Animal Yoga Poses your kids will love.