I believe this meditation has worked so well to induce such a sleepy state because it helps Everett to turn his focus inward, to his body, allowing him to relax and feel his sleepiness/tiredness instead of fight it. I imagine this could have the same promising effects on a child with good body awareness; and for one that has not developed body awareness this may be an effective tool for doing so.
Lie beside your child in a comfortable, quiet setting. You can choose to put on some quiet music, for some children it may be too much stimulation. Dim the lights and begin by closing eyes and taking a few slow, full-belly breaths together.
Throughout the meditation, encourage you child to breathe into a body part while you hold on to or touch that body part. Start at the feet and move up to end at the head, using a soft, calming voice. Change your phrasing a little as you go so that you don't sound like a broken record player inducing boredom instead of rest. Here is what it sounds like:
Take his foot into your hand, "Let's close our eyes. Now picture your feet in your head and think about how they feel. Take a deep breath as you picture your feet and relax. Breathe into your ankles, allowing them to be soft and relax. And now your lower legs..." As you talk about each body part touch that body part to help your child bring his focus there.
I include several body parts, knowing that Everett will relax throughout. As you say the meditation and pay attention to how your child is doing, you'll know how many or few body parts to include. Also, if your child becomes disinterested, end the meditation and try again another day. If you are going to use the meditation as quite time, nap time or bed time, they key is not to force it, but to allow it to become part of a comfortable routine.
Here are the body parts that I include:
- lower legs
- thighs/upper legs
- upper back
- upper arms
- lower arms
- hands and fingers
- face muscles- cheeks/mouth/eyebrows,etc
- whole head
I will not necessarily have him breathe into one body part at a time, but group a couple together like feet and ankles, or cheeks and mouth.
After moving through all the body to end at the head, take a few last breaths focusing on the whole body. Encourage your child to feel how relaxed and calm his body feels and to continue lying there to rest.