Sleep. As adults we covet it like a precious gem. But, as children we fought for every hour, minute and second of wakefulness, even if it meant being a grouchy mess. My children are no different.
When my daughter started kindergarten in the fall, we noticed that by the end of the day she was overtired, grumpy, and not very much fun to be around. We told ourselves that she was just adjusting to a new schedule and that everything would be fine.
But months went by and her nightly grumpy attitude continued, and we were at our breaking point. I finally asked her pediatrician what to do. She told me that some kids just require more sleep than others, and that my daughter was just one of them. She said that kids around age six should be getting 12 hours of sleep at night.
While that isn’t always plausible with activities, homework, and other extenuating circumstances, the doctor said it was important for my daughter to get as much sleep as possible.
So that night I got everyone in their pajamas, we did our nightly routine, and I said goodnight to my daughter while the sun was still shining above the horizon. I was feeling very happy with myself until I saw her emerge from her bedroom.
“I’m not tired,” she said, yawning.
It was nearly an hour before I got her to fall asleep and I felt hopeless. If I couldn’t get her to fall asleep at the right time, then she’d continue to be grumpy.
But, I wasn’t going to give up. I researched some ideas for establishing a new bedtime routine and I stumbled across bedtime yoga. It sounded a little far-fetched, but we had done yoga as a family before, so I knew it wouldn’t be too strange to start it up again.
I even found a YouTube video of a reading of the book, Good Night Yoga, by Mariam Gates. The woman reading the book has a very soothing voice, and pictures display each yoga pose in a kid-friendly way.
My kids loved it. We went through the video three times the first night, and they have asked to do bedtime yoga every night since. And not only did they love the poses and the time we spent together, but my daughter is now falling asleep at her new bed time.
While I’m sure this is not a fix-all for every sleep-related problem, I know it has worked wonders for my daughter and for us. Studies have actually shown that yoga helps to slow down breathing and prepare the body for sleep.
So, if you have a “grumpasaurus” like I did, then yoga just might be the solution. Sweet dreams.
Jessa is the Editor-in-Chief of Hooray for Family and the mom of three energetic children. She has a BA in Mass Communication/Journalism from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and is a long-time resident of Central Texas. When she isn't writing and editing, she enjoys playing board games with her kids, teaching Sunday school and channeling her creativity into craft projects.