Poor sleep problems often stem from anxiety
I help a lot of people, adults and children to overcome sleep problems and one of the most significant causes of not being able to go to sleep is anxiety of one sort or another. Whether the problem manifests as fear of monsters, burglars, dying, kidnapping, school issues, being bullied, financial difficulties, relationship problems, illness, depression, the anxiety is there and it affects their sleep!
Night time is the perfect time to worry!
After all you don’t have anything else to distract you. You may have been pushing it out of your mind all day but it comes back to haunt you at bedtime.
Anxiety is like a mental virus
It is highly catching. You don’t even need to talk about what is worrying you to pass it on. Think about how our pets are so quick to pick something up when we are upset. Dogs in particular can be very sensitive to our mood and will often try to comfort us.
Your children will pick up the vibes too
You can pass it on in so many ways that you may not even be aware of … your bodily tension, your facial expression, your abstracted attention, your lack of patience, your inability to connect in your normal way as your mind is on your worry. Even very young children will pick up the vibes as well and because they sense that, if Mum or Dad are anxious, there must be something for them to worry about too.
Often this happens at the unconscious level
But it definitely happens … children become tense and anxious even if they don’t really know why. This obviously affects them during the day but it really gets to work at night. They are too unsettled to go to sleep in the normal way. They may be restless, tearful, fractious, not wanting to be left on their own. Even babies and toddlers want your comfort even though they don’t know why!
With older children of course it’s often more conscious
They know what’s going on at the moment with the Coronavirus fears … of course they do have to know about it so they understand the very real need to take the precautions of social distancing and washing their hands and so on.
But do they need to have the television on all day and evening with one bad news story after another? Indeed do we ourselves have to watch the news all day on television or on our phones? Do we constantly need to read or hear the hysteria on some social media? People who create sensible limits to their viewing and listening report dealing more calmly with the current fear
So what can we do to help our children sleep?
Obviously we need to deal with our own anxieties as far as we can so as not to pass them on (yes, I know … easier said than done but try looking here many people have found these audios to be of immense value). https://www.firstwayforward.com/product-tag/sleep-and-relaxation/ (For adults and kids)
And children also respond incredibly well to listening to calming audios at bedtime. Have a look at my latest bedtime meditations (really just very sleepy stories) for very little children
For kids of different ages