23 September 2010

The relaxing game

My eldest takes after me, and I take after my mother. We can sleep anywhere and it takes something major yo keep us awake after bedtime.

Not so my middle son. For some reason, he often had trouble falling asleep when he was little. When he was about two, we invented a soothing method we called "the relaxing game" and it worked for him for years.

Jack doesn't often have trouble falling asleep, but occasionally, he does and so the relaxing game was revived.

I suspect most mothers come up with it, but just in case someone could use it and hadn't thought of it yet, I thought I'd mention it here.

Here's how it works:

Have the child lie on his or her back in bed with the lights out.

Starting with the toes, work your way up the body alternately squeezing and stretching bits of the body, every so often involving everything that's been worked so far. Intersperse deep, slow breathes in and then out.

Like this:

OK, you're on your back. Wriggle all over. Now relax. Take a deeeep breath in. Now out, very slowly.

OK, wiggle your toes. Just your toes. Are they wiggled? Good. Now squeeze your toes tight, tight, tight. Squeeeezee. OK, relax. Now, stretch your toes as wide apart as you can. Stretch, stretch, stretch. OK, relax. wiggle your toes again.

OK, now wiggle your feet. Now squeeze your feet tight. Point your toes down and squeeze, sqeeze, squeeze them. Good! Now relax. Now pull your toes back as far as you can. Stretc those feet! Stretch, stretch, stretch. OK, relax. wiggle your feet again.

Now relax. Take a deeeep breath in. Now out, very slowly.

It's easy and I think part of the sucess is that it is physically relaxing -- but the other half is that it's sooo repetitious, but since you have to respond physically, it interupts those relentless thoughts that keep a youngster awake.

Only VERY rarely have we had to repeat from the toes. Uusually, my boys rolled over and feel asleep easily after once over -- even though stretching and squeezing their face at the end always causes gales of giggles.
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