Of all the possible parenting trials and tribulations, fate dealt us a child who doesn’t like to fall asleep. In the grand scheme of things I’m ok with that I suppose, especially when we consider all the other possibilities we’ve dodged – Tabs was never a bedwetter, a biter or a terrible eater, for example (she says, touching huge quantities of wood as she does so).
Having said that, it does get old kind of fast, trying to find new reserves of patience every evening at bedtime, as Tabs deals out every trick in the book in an effort to delay that moment when she has to close her eyes and drift off.
It was Bambino Goodies pal Amanda of Kitschycoo who first mentioned Christiane Kerr’s meditations for kids CDs to me. Got to admit, having tried everything from white noise to lavender in the bath, we were pretty sceptical. At the same time, we would give anything a go if it even hinted at better bedtimes.
A couple of years down the line, we still use them almost every night. You can purchase them as CDs or, rather helpfully, MP3s, so more often than not one of us will play Tabs the meditations on our iPod as part of the bedtime winding down process. By now we’ve heard them so many times we practically know them off by heart, but in that same strange way kids have of watching DVDs over and over and over again, that doesn’t seem to matter to Tabs.
I wouldn’t say our bedtimes have been entirely revolutionised. We still have far more naughty nights than I’m comfortable with. But I would say that after the first few times of listening to these soothing stories and breathing exercises, which are nicely packaged up into fantasy stories of diving under the sea or going into space, Tabs began to believe that they ‘made’ her go to sleep, and that power of suggestion works very strongly in our favour still, even if we’ve had nights that prove the opposite. My favourite meditation is a snow themed one where the child becomes a snowflake and flutters to the ground: that can have *me* away and snoring in no time!
If you’re thinking meditations are a bit close to the hippy-dippy line, well, they are nothing more really than some calming stories told in a soothing Scottish accent, with some very basic relaxation techniques thrown in. It’s always going to help anyone to go to sleep if they can relax every muscle, close their eyes, and think happy thoughts – and that’s what these help kids to do. If you have bedtime issues, I’d recommend them, not as a cure, but as a very useful tool to have in your armoury.
Currently cheapest at Amazon, where they are around the Â£8 mark each, with the usual Amazon delivery options, and a couple of quid less for the MP3 versions.