If you're like many parents, you've probably found yourself in a situation where your little one is anxious about their day or worried about something from their imagination—and you have no idea how to find the “right” answer for them. You wish you had something to take away all their worries.
I've been there many times with my now 6-year-old daughter. I'm astounded by the weight of her worries some days. As a certified yoga teacher for kids, I believe the best thing we can do for our children is to equip them with mindful tools to manage all that life will undoubtedly send their way.
So I created a meditation and visualization practice based on common breathing methods to use with my little one at night. Together, we help ease her mind by sending those troubles to the moon in a balloon. Here's how to practice it with your own child:
Bedtime Balloons: A Calming Meditation
Snuggle into your bed and lie on your back.
Place your hands on your belly and close your eyes. Pretend your belly is a balloon.
As you breathe in, feel your belly balloon filling your hands. As you breathe out, feel the air leaving your belly balloon.
Repeat a few times, filling and emptying your balloon.
On your next inhalation, fill your balloon with any worries or wishes you may have from the day. As you exhale, send that balloon up into the night sky.
Repeat this process with every breath.
Fill the balloons with every wish or worry, then send them up into the sky on each exhalation. In your mind's eye, watch the sky fill with your balloons.
Notice the details of your balloons. How big are they? What color are they? How do they move as they float up into the stars?
Notice how the balloons float farther and farther away, until they disappear.
As always, have fun with this visualization and let your kids build on it or create their own. Keep in mind that they can fill their balloons with not only their worries but their wishes, too. My daughter started doing this on her own, and it warmed my heart when I heard her fill balloons with wishes for her friends.
May there be more wishes than worries as you practice this with your little ones.