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Sleep relaxation for children: in pictures

5-8 years

Deep breathing for sleep relaxation

Deep breathing can help children relax. Bubble-blowing can help your child learn and practise how to slowly breathe in and out.

At bedtime, get your child to relax his shoulders. Ask him to breathe in for four counts (count, ‘One rabbit, two rabbit, three rabbit, four rabbit’). Hold the breath in for four counts.

Ask your child to breathe out for four counts. Hold the breath out for four counts. Repeat up to four times. Tell your child that deep breathing gets easier with daily practice.

Using pictures for sleep relaxation

Choose a book with pictures of a place your child can imagine (avoid scary pictures). Talk about the picture and ask your child if she can see it in her mind.

The more your child can learn to create pictures in her mind, the more it can help her relax. She can use her imagination to change the picture if she wants.

Sleep relaxation after a busy day

After a busy day at school, a bedtime routine can help get your child ready for sleep. A quiet, dimly lit place to sleep will help your child settle in for the night.

Try to keep the bedroom free from screens like computers, TVs and phones. Playing games and watching TV takes up sleep time. And the blue light from screens can make it harder for your child to fall asleep.

Try a worry box. Before bedtime, your child can draw or write down his worries. At bedtime, he can put these worries in a box. During the day, you can talk about the worries and try to think of solutions.

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Raising Children Network is supported by the Australian Government. Member organisations are the Parenting Research Centre and the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute with The Royal Children’s Hospital Centre for Community Child Health.

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