My little Goldie has always been high octane. A friend once called her ‘Baby on steroids’ for her non-stop personality as a toddler. At 4 she is a super ball of energy. So we need to take it down a notch at bedtime to guarantee solid sleep. She’s at that ages where overtired can equal night terrors so it’s important to properly chill her out.
I’ve found so many great resources for kids sleep but the mindfulness activities we do together accompanied by some soft music do the best job.If, like us, your child is a little live wire, winding down at bedtime can be challenging! Throw in a few of those pre-schooler night terrors and creating peaceful sleep routines becomes super important.
Goldie & I have been practising a couple of peaceful sleep routines and one of our favourites is this little ‘Make a Rainbow’ relaxation we’ve come up up with. I say ‘we’ve’ evolved this together because while it started from my experiments with giving her mediations to go to sleep with, she has guided me on what works for her by asking for this and that.
This relaxation is super awesome because it deepens our bonding; physical closeness; deep breathing; visualisation & teaching about the power of each colour and their chakras.
Lying together with my hands on her head we breathe in each colour of the rainbow. We talk about how that colour makes us feel as we breath it in and feel it fill our bodies. Sometimes she’ll go: ‘ding!’ like an oven timer when she feels the colour has filled her completely. The more nights we practice, Goldie takes more of a lead on this and tells me what each colour means to her. I’ve guided her by using the traditional chakra meanings but she has started to define them more personally as time goes by.
By the time we get to Violet, Goldie is pretty relaxed and almost ready for sleep. We ‘stir’ the colours together by holding hands together on an imaginary spoon above her chest. Then she stretches the imaginary rainbow she has made from her heart into my hand. I can then ‘pull it’ (as I walk out of her room) into a great arch that ends on my heart. She knows she is safe and I am connected to her by our rainbow while she sleeps.
Here’s an example of our Make a Rainbow relaxation:
Goldie: ‘Can we do the Rainbow?’
Me: ‘Sure, let’s snuggle down and take some nice relaxing breaths. Shall I put my hands on your head?
Ok, breath in red. Feel it flowing right down to your toes. It makes you feel safe’
Goldie: ‘…and brave.’
‘Now orange, it’s lovely and warm and filling you up. It makes you feel confident and happy to be you.’
Me: ‘Now yellow…’
Goldie: ‘It makes me feel happy’
Me: ‘Breathe in some green. You feel love. You are loved and you are loving’
Goldie ‘and pink makes me feel love. can we do pink’ She moves my hand to her chest.
Me: ‘Great breath in the pink. Now, blue. Do you feel the relaxation of the blue? Feel that very cool, calm blue flowing over you.
Goldie: ‘Ding’ She moves my hand to her eyebrow centre. ‘Indigo.’
Me: ‘Indigo, you feel wise. You know what is right.’
Me: ‘You feel your beautiful imagination starting to take you off to dreamland. Start to go with it. But don’t forget to mix up your rainbow first.’
We take an imaginary spoon and stir it over her heart centre.
Me: ‘I feel so relaxed. Let’s breathe it in.’
Then we put our hands over her heart
Goldie: You can pull the Rainbow now Mummy. You’re safe.
Me: ‘You too baby. I’m stretching it out. I’ll be with you while you sleep. I’m always with you’
Goldie: Radio Silence.
Whist colours in mediation have been important to me ever since I started to learn reiki, I want to credit some inspirational sources who have helped shape this practice. Through hypnobirthing practise I first sensed colour in pregnancy – that golden light she seemed to radiate in utero. The ‘mix it up’ analogy was inspired by a friend who told me about the super ‘Mix it up’ book by Herve Tullet.
After listening to a ‘No Filter’ podcast featuring grief therapist, Petrea King, our simple chakra colour relaxation became an actual rainbow that stretches from heart to heart. Petrea King goes on to then tie a rainbow ribbon around her child’s wrist so they have their tangible rainbows with them. Fast forward to adulthood, her sons still wear them even on tour in the army. She talks about kids needing ‘to know that they can continue loving someone who is no longer physically present.’ Goldie sometimes lassos her rainbow to other people she loves. I’ve noticed her including the whole list of people we mention in prayers. She is busy tying rainbows around a lot of hearts before she goes to sleep. This evening she told me they were ‘all nice and safe’.
Sometimes, before I head to bed I take Petrea King’s suggestion and tie a rainbow ribbon around her wrist as a morning surprise. I got a great big reel from Aliexpress that should last for yonks. I’m sure one day she will be doing this with her own kids too.
You get the idea. You and your sweet thing will make it yours. That Rainbow really takes on a life of its own.