My experience with this led me to make 'Sleep' and 'Rest' an integral part of our WiggleBums Classes. We have so many mums scoff when we tell them about the relaxation part of our classes. One mum literally spat her tea out all over me whilst saying "There is no way George will do that!"
Sleep is fundamental to our health and well-being and plays a massive part in how we behave and learn and grow as individuals. There is so much value placed on the 'Doing' of Life and so little on the 'Being'.
Each class, after we have explored and play and laugh we rest. We rest and digest all that juicy information our bodies and minds have taken in. It is an integral part of growing and one that is underplayed and overlooked as important. Time out to settle into one's self and just 'Be' away from the distractions of life, of screens and the next activity is super important. Within the pauses sits the potential. And so the time to cwtch up with our blankies is one of the cornerstones of a WiggleBums/Kids class.
Here's our 3 C's to a good nights sleep...
COSY: We all need to feel warm and cosy in our beds and in our rooms. Having a space that is clean and tidy and warm is paramount to feeling cosy, safe and contented. Sleeping in the 'right' direction for our inner sat nav is uber important too. Ever slept in a hotel or friends bed and just felt the 'wrong way round?' If your child isn't sleeping maybe the bed is in the wrong place for them. My son, when he did sleep would end up at the bottom of the bed and I was always putting him back the other way. He was actually telling me which way was better for him but I couldn't see it. Being cosy and lying in the right direction is super important to have a goods night sleep. As is turning off the stimulus, and creating a low light warm glow that literally holds you and will support you while you sleep. Bedding and mattresses for kids can be overlooked simply because life gets in the way and you're not sleeping in it every night so may not know. Check to see if their bed is super comfy and you would like to sleep within those sheets and on that bed yourself. If the answer is no, well...
CONSISTENCY: Children love routine and structure; they really do. It makes them feel safe to know what's coming. I often give two choices at bedtime; both of which I'm happy and want. "You can brush your teeth now and then story OR you can brush your teeth after the story?" Giving choices like this gives them a little bit of control over their lives and let's be fair, children don't have much do they. Being consistent in your bedtime rituals also means being good with your time management and giving your child fair warning and not dropping the bombshell in that panicky, snappy kind of way; helps. Our children will just pick up on and play out the underlying emotion that we are carrying. So give yourself the time you need and together with your child discuss and create a new bedtime routine conducive to sleep. It may take a few goes to get there, but you will.
CONNECTION: I remember it was the lack of time for me that use to drive the need for my son to sleep. I would feel like he was not sleeping on purpose. I was taking his behaviour personally when in actual fact he was sensing the lack of connection I had towards him. I had given and given and given and given and now I was emotionally snapping and needed a break and that break was teasing me on the horizon; if only he would sleep. It was this that he was picking up on. My lack of connection to myself and him hurt his emotional body and created a sense of fear and separation which was then driving the nighttime shenanigans that took place. I was lucky enough to have a great homoeopath that prescribed an amazing homoeopathic pill that just sorted out his fear of separation, and truth be told mine too. I also had a wonderful friend who pointed out I needed some time to connect back in with me each day. Didn't have to be much but just enough to feel filled up a bit. Then I could give that little bit more at bedtime and not need my time out in the eve like someone who was starving. My eldest son was a great teacher for me and now with my third child I am fully present and connected to myself and her at bedtimes. Pillow talk just before she nods off is usually when she tells me about her day and who did what to whom and why. It's a chance for her to offload and feel the love and safety I have for her. It's a necessary part of our day, an activity if you like that helps build her emotional intelligence and helps me stay connected with her and her needs. Once she's ready she rolls over and falls swiftly asleep; she sleeps like a log and so do I.
Over the 18 years as a mum, I've learnt that if I want a happy, chilled bedtime then I need to get happy and chilled myself. And when I'm not it is a true indicator that I haven't given myself the time to rest and renew that day. I've created a consistent routine that has plenty of time for me to do everything I need in a calm and loving and mindful way and she has the cosiest room and bed ever! I also always welcome her into my bed and snuggle her in helping her feel safe and loved anytime she wants. I love this time more than any other and knowing what I know now it really doesn't last for long; so very different 18 years on. I've learnt to throw away the manuals on how to raise kids and follow what is true for us, true for that child I'm with at the time, they are all different but they all need the same things in life; to feel safe and happy and loved; don't we all...
On a side note, if you have tried all of this and your likle boo is still not sleeping then it could be something physical such as adenoids or super sonic hearing. I say this as it turned out my son has Super Sonic hearing. He comes in at -15, a dog is -25 and the average human is +75 so, the slightest noise would wake him up! I kept the radio playing softly just outside his room to wash out any sharp noises that could happen in the night and now his a teen he wears ear plugs. If sleep is a real issue please consult your doctor and check these things out...
By Patricia Maddalena, Founder of WiggleBums/Kids and Integration Therapist at www.livingfree.eu
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