How to Calm an Anxious Child at Bedtime

jack-o-lanternI don’t give a lot of parenting advice here lucky for you, but I’m just putting this out there in case it could help someone else.

The Kid had a few bad dreams lately and it got to the point where she, a normally pretty calm kid, was getting anxious at bedtime anticipating more bad dreams.

Generally, in these sorts of cases I try diversionary tactics to get her mind off the negative and settle herself back down a tactic that hardly ever works for yours truly but maybe this next generation can surpass us, right?!.

That Let’s Talk about Good Things approach was not working, but the other night I remembered a technique I read in Why Worry? by Katherine Tristan for calming yourself down at night. It involved placing your hands on your heart, taking five deep breaths and thinking about something or someone you love.

With the Kid, I put my hand on her hand over her heart and tell her to remember a moment or person or anything when she felt good. Kids seem to do this very easily, any opportunity to imagine.

Then I ask her to remember how she felt in her body, were her toes wiggling, did her head tingle, was her heart beating harder, did her knees feel jiggly?

Then I suggest she think of those sensations and imagine that entire good experience as love flowing into all her cells in her body and growing to make a protective bubble around her.

Then we imagine guardian angels at the foot of her bed (really tall ones!), at the bedroom door and over the entire house.

It may sound all woo-woo if you haven’t ever tried any visualizations, but after the first night the Kid requested it over and over again. Do the thing, Mom!

She claims she hasn’t had any dreams at all since doing this (her preference, even to fun dreams).

Obviously, a really young child may not be able to do this but once they get to that age where bad dreams, monsters and nightmares come up, I’d give it a shot. Wish I’d started it earlier!

Good luck and let me know if it helps!

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One response to “How to Calm an Anxious Child at Bedtime

  1. Some of my mommy clients will love this! Thank you for sharing.