This heartwarming kindness practice helps kids calm down and nurtures compassion. It offers a beautiful way to connect with your child and only takes a few minutes to do.
- Decreases stress
- Increases positive emotions
- Activates empathy & emotional processing in the brain
- Increases grey matter volume
- Increases empathy
- Makes you a more helpful person
- Curbs self-criticism
- And much more…
Sounds good, right? Go ahead, give it at try tonight. It’s perfect for bedtime!
Here’s the exercise:
Mindfulness For Kids – Bedtime Wishes Routine
Purpose: Loving-kindness / Positivity / Compassion
Best for: Ages 4+
What you need: Nothing!
This calm bedtime routine will help the child wind down and think about others in a loving and compassionate way.
After she has been tucked into bed, tell the child to think about one person to whom she’d like to send love. It could be someone she’s thankful for, someone she loves, someone who had a bad day, a stranger she observed and wondered about, or a person she saw on the news. It can be anyone.
The words you (and she) will say should vary based on her age. When first incorporating this exercise into the child’s routine, it’s best to model for her by doing it yourself. Here are some examples of phrases that she might use:
I send love to __________.
I send kindness to __________.
I send happy thoughts to __________.
May ___________ be happy.
May ___________ be healthy.
May ___________ find peace.
May ___________ let go of sadness.
Younger children may say this aloud, imitating you. As they get older, they may grow to take on this exercise as an independent and silent loving-kindness meditation.
When ready ask her how she feels. You might do this the first couple of times to see how she feels about the exercise.
- How does she feel about the person she sent good wishes to?
- How did it make her feel?
- Would she like to do this again?
I hope you get the warm fuzzies, like I often do with this exercise. If you don’t, no problem; try it a few times to get used to sending kind thoughts.
If you are new to mindfulness with children we recommend that you read our guide: How To Practice Mindfulness With Children – The Essential Guide
Have you tried mindfulness for kids before? How did it work out for you? Let us know.
May you be happy and healthy!
Chris Bergstrom is a dad who is thrilled to practice mindfulness with his son. He is trained by Mindful Schools to teach mindfulness to students in K-12 (but not associated with MS) and a member of the American Mindfulness Research Association. He’s also an executive consultant, and has taught meditation for more than 10 years.
Photo by Ben Scherjon