4 yoga techniques to help your kids sleep

4 yoga techniques to help your kids sleep

Posted on Jan 24, 2023

How often do your children come to you at 10 or 11 p.m., dishevelled or upset, saying, "I can't get to sleep!" A few yoga-based techniques helped me soothe and relax my troubled adolescent children so that they could fall asleep more easily. In the following paragraphs, we will describe the four methods we have found to be the most useful in putting children to sleep. 

The things that help kids concentrate on a single thought rather than letting their mind wander are the most effective when they are young kid and have trouble falling asleep. 

This statement is profoundly insightful because it gets to the essence of yoga: developing a single-minded concentration in order to still the chatter of the mind's periphery and find peace in a more expansive awareness. 

Of course, the best lessons and advice come from personal experience, so I recommend giving these methods a shot. Test out different approaches and flavour them with your own flair before introducing them to the kids in your life. 


1) Inquire as to how they are feeling physically and emotionally

A common opening line of mine is, "How does it feel in your body right now?" Having cramps or other physical discomfort can cause you to wake up frequently throughout the night. When my children were younger, they frequently suffered from nighttime leg cramps. If that were to happen, I would recommend they drink water and do some light stretching to alleviate any pain. 

However, an overactive and distracted mind was typically to blame for sleepless nights. If my children were physically fine, I would then encourage them to reflect on their emotional state. The questions I'd put to them are as follows: 

How many different ideas were running through their heads simultaneously? 

Did their minds feel like a jumbled sphere? 

Perhaps a series of stacked ideas? 

Or perhaps a series of sequential ideas? 

Making room

It helps to take a step back and examine the structural patterning of thoughts, perhaps by drawing a visual analogy to the process of thought formation in one's own mind. By not giving our complete attention and involvement to our thoughts, we can reduce the influence those thoughts have over us. 

Then I'd inquire: 

Please describe the sensation of having those thoughts. 

What exactly are they thinking about? 

Do you feel like there's a specific kind of energy in those ideas? 

My kids' "tummy feels like it's on a rollercoaster" if they're anxious about something, for example. 

These inquiries prompt young people to further disengage from their internal mental processes. They are aware of the connection between their mood and the thoughts they think. It's possible, for instance, that the nervous energy of their thoughts gives them a headache, a sore jaw, or even pain in their bodies. 

In addition, children may develop an understanding that mental processes are not the same as human beings but rather are separate from us. And the only way our thoughts can control us is if we pay attention to them. 

First, we would do a "check-in" to see how they were doing physically and emotionally, and then I would employ a number of techniques designed to reduce anxiety. These methods aid in relaxation and encourage the subject to shift their focus away from the thoughts themselves, allowing them to rest in a more receptive state of consciousness. 


2) Conduct a full body scan

Kids can be put to sleep using a variety of body scanning techniques. Goodnight, toes. Goodnight, ears. Goodnight, nose. Goodnight, eyes. Goodnight, ears. Goodnight, nose. Adieu, feet! Have a restful night's sleep, legs. Sometimes I'd be the one to lead the way, "tucking in" each individual body part as if we were putting it to bed. The usual twist added by my offspring: 

"Mama, I was wondering about my fingernails." 

"Yes, I'll say goodnight to my fingernails...." 

"What about the fingers?"

"Rest easy, fingers." 

We'd tell every part of the body that could be holding tension—teeth, eyes, blood, skin—that it's okay to shut down, unwind, and sleep. At the end, we wished our bodies and minds goodnight as well. As a result, by that time, my children's minds were finally able to settle down enough to allow them to sleep. 

One variation is to "untie the knots" of stress in each individual body part. Like "combing" through the knots that prevent them from drifting off to sleep. The phrase can be modified by giving each body part a mental or energetic hug or smile as you name it. 

Take a look at Taetske's Body Scan course if you need some inspiration. 


3) Learn some deep breathing exercises 

Numerous breathing exercises can be used to aid children in unwinding. What follows are only a few of the strategies I've personally found to be useful: 

Inhale slowly, and exhale completely 

Feel your body fill with air as you slowly inhale while lying down. 

Let a long, deep sigh escape through your mouth as you exhale, and feel your muscles untense as you do so. 

As you take a deep breath in, focus on the sound it makes. 

As you let your breath out through your mouth, notice how the front of your body relaxes into your back and how your whole body calms down at once. 

Pay attention to just one aspect of breathing in each time. It could be the sound, a sensation, the temperature of the breath, etc. Allow yourself to completely let go with each exhalation, and find a place of calm and relaxation as you do so. 

Counting breath 

You could also try taking four deep breaths in, holding them for a count of six, and then slowly releasing them through your mouth. The ratio can be adjusted to whatever is most at ease if 4:6 is not the right fit or causes discomfort. Just keep the ratio of your exhale to your inhale at around 2:4 or 3:5. 

Find out how your kid reacts after a few of these sessions. 

Bramhari pranayama

This Bumblebee breathing method has proven to be very popular. It's simple, and in my experience, it's surprisingly effective. 

Relax and take deep breaths while lying down. The next step is to close your mouth and exhale while making a soft humming sound, like a bumblebee's gentle hum (the sound "mmmmmmm"). 

Repeat this process three to five times, and allow yourself to relax into the quiet space it creates. 

The calming effect of bumblebee breath is felt on the physical and mental levels. It induces a parasympathetic "rest and digest" state by activating the vagus nerve. 

4) It's worth a shot to experiment with mantra and sound vibration

The vibration of sound is a powerful tool for calming the mind and body. As an added bonus, it aids in concentrating on a single task. Here are some examples of how I've used vibrational sound to put my kids to sleep: 

Instruments of Tibetan Sacred Music: Singing Bowls and Chimes

When working with kids, a Tibetan Singing Bowl can do wonders. I have yet to meet a child who doesn't become completely at peace when immersed in its resonant sound. You can use finger chimes, a deep-sounding bell, or even find chimes and singing bowl sounds online (or in apps) if you don't have access to a Tibetan Singing bowl. 

Ask your kid to lay down and take a few deep breaths. Then, have them close their eyes and "listen" to the bowl, bell, or chimes using their entire body. Test to see if they are able to perceive the sound on some level. Request that they maintain eye closure until they no longer perceive the sound. 

Perform several times until your child appears calm and sleepy. 

Mantras of Bija/Om Sounds 

My kids loved doing this before bed. The kids, when they were younger, asked me to do a yoga-based technique they called "Sounds" almost every night. They'd sit back and chill as I chanted the mantras. 

The chakras, or energy centres, in the body are represented by short, one-syllable sounds called Bija Mantras. Please enjoy this previously recorded lesson, and rest assured that I will be filming a class tailored to children. 

Healing Sound for the Chakras 

The soothing sound vibration of the Bija Mantras guide you on a meditative journey through the seven chakras. 

It's perfectly acceptable to use a few slow, gentle OM chants to help children unwind and drift off to sleep. A gentle chant of vowel sounds, such as "Aaaah," "Eeeeee," and "Oooooh," can be very soothing. 

The energetic vibration of mantras has a soothing effect on the body and mind. It is also possible to enter a more restful and relaxed state of mind simply by listening to the sounds. 

Asana (postures), pranayama (breathing exercises), and meditation (which are all aspects of yoga) are all meant to help you relax your body and mind, which should in turn help you and the kids in your life fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep. 

Please share your best techniques for putting your children to sleep in the comments section.