I felt like I had struck gold again tonight. My daughter had three nightmares last night which culminated in her sleeping in our bed. Tonight, she was scared it would happen again. So, I adapted a great little guided practice I do with adults for her — and she was fast asleep before I finished. Here it is. Let me know if you give it a go with your children!
By the way you can change any words to suit your children better — just make sure the questions you ask are not promoting them to think of any particular place you would like them to love — leave the choice up to them. And just use a slow, warm and gentle voice, giving them enough time to bring the place to life in their mind before you move on to the next section:
As you lie down to sleep, snuggle down into the bed and find a cozy, comfortable place to rest.
Imagine that you can see a bookshelf with three of four books on it — it’s your own special bookshelf and you can go to it anytime you want to.
You are going to take one of the books down now. Choose any one and open it up on your lap.
When you open the book in your imagination, you see before you a place that you love to go to — somewhere that makes you happy just to think about it
It’s one of your favorite places to be — maybe it’s a park or playground that you love, maybe a beach, a lake, a forest or somewhere else again that you are thinking of now. It might be somewhere you were today that you loved, or somewhere you remember from another time. Picture this place now, where you are relaxed, happy, calm and at peace
Is it warm or cool where you are? Can you feel a light breeze in your hair?
What can you see there? Are there green trees and grass? Waves and sand? Are there shiny monkey bars and swings? Or is there something else you can see?
Just seeing that now, you feel safe and happy.
What can you hear? Is the wind rustling through the leaves on the trees? Are there birds singing or children laughing? Or is it quiet where you are? What can you hear?
What can you smell? Is it the sea air or the earth or even the scent of flowers in the air around you? What can you smell in your special place?
And what can you feel? Can you touch the sand on the beach or the smooth rocks by the river bank? Is the dirt cool and moist or is it dry and warm? Can you feel the breeze on your cheeks or the crunch of twigs under your show? What can you feel in this favor place of yours?
Take it all in as you rest in your calm and happy place, knowing that any time you want to, you can take that book of the self and come back here in your mind.
There are other books on the shelf too and any time you want to, you can open one of those and go to another special place, bringing it to life in your imagination.
As you close the book now, you are ready to drift off to sleep, take that soft, happy feeling with you into your dreams. Good night my darling. Have a beautiful sleep.