6 Kid-Friendly Yoga Stretches for a Calmer, Smoother Bedtime

6 Kid-Friendly Yoga Stretches for a Calmer, Smoother Bedtime

Help your kids gently bend, breathe, and ommm their way to bed with this calming routine.


By Lorraine Allen

In our home, we’ve suffered bedtime struggles for years. It’s the end of a long day. We’re all exhausted, but the kids wind themselves up for their last epic resistance battle of the day, the “I’m-never-going-to-bed-ever-again” struggle begins. Pillows are thrown. Rules are ignored. There’s running. Hiding. Pleading. Sometimes tears. But one sure way to end the day more calmly and peacefully for the whole family is to do yoga.

Starting as early as toddlerhood, kids can benefit in so many ways from stretching, twisting, bending, and breathing through simple poses. They’ll learn to focus, find balance, and – best of all – calm themselves down. Here are a few simple, fun yoga poses to get you started:

1. Mountain pose: Stand tall with back straight, shoulders down, head held high, and gaze directly ahead. Arms should be straight down sides, palms open. Breathe in through the nose deeply, hold the breath in the belly for a count or two, and exhale slowly. Repeat a few times, thinking of a mountain you would like to be, somewhere peaceful and serene.

2. Tree pose: This is a nice transition from mountain pose. Have kids first name the type of tree they wish to become for this pose (just because it’s fun to imagine!). Standing tall, pick one leg up, and place the sole of this foot against the inside of the opposite knee, resting it there gently; stay balanced by engaging core muscles. Keep the back straight and head high. Extend arms up overhead like branches while inhaling deeply, then bring hands together in front, pressing palms together, and exhale. Repeat for a few breaths, and then switch to the other foot.

3. Snake pose: Lie on your stomach on a yoga mat, towel, or rug, belly flat on floor, with your forehead resting on the ground, arms beside you. Then press hands flat down on the ground, on either side of your chest, shoulders bent. Inhale and slowly lift torso, neck, and head off the ground, looking up ahead, like a cobra, and hisssss on the exhale. Imagine slithering through tall grass, or over round smooth stones, for added fun.

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4. Butterfly pose: Sit on the ground with legs bent outward in a V shape, pressing soles of feet together on the floor in front of you. Press knees gently up and down like a butterfly, imagining where you would fly if you had wings. Wave arms gently up and down as well, like wings, remembering to take slow breaths too.

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5. Starfish pose: From butterfly pose, rock backwards, taking another deep breath, and lie flat on the ground. Spread out arms and legs wide into a starfish shape, and take a few deep breaths, feeling the belly rise and fall, and imagining gentle waves in the sea. Then swing one hip and leg all the way across the other to open up the lower back, breathe for a few moments, bring leg back to center, and switch sides.

6. Turtle pose (or child’s pose): Sit up one last time, kneeling with legs tucked under. Inhale and reach arms up high to the sky, then gently bend the upper body all the way down, exhaling, until curled in half over bent knees, like a turtle in a shell. Arms can stay stretched out ahead, or be curled up as well. Forehead rests on the floor. Inhale and exhale slowly, enjoying the peace, warmth, and darkness of your very own little space.

How do you help your kids calm down and relax before bedtime?


Lorraine Allen is a writer and mom to one spunky first-grader and one squirrel-obsessed dog. You can follow their delicious, allergy-friendly cooking adventures at FeedingLina.com.

Image ©iStock.com/ PureDynamics


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