Helping Big Kids Sleep with Tapping
Sleep issues with older children are almost always based on some element of anxiety, or a child’s inability to relax.
Your 5 year old may be popping out of bed to see you because she’s scared of the dark, her dreams or of being alone. Alternatively, she may have never learned how to wind down and slip into a peaceful state before dozing off to sleep, without your help.
EFT, more commonly known as Tapping, is a simple technique with powerful results. All you have to do is tap gently on different energy points on your body, while taking deep breaths and saying specific calming phrases.
The studies that have shown the efficacy in EFT describe a calming of the nervous system and lowered arousal levels in the amygdala, the part of the brain that produces emotion. While EFT is not yet widely accepted in the field of clinical psychology, is it used by prominent child psychologists, including Dr. Laura Markham, and is practiced by thousands of regular people around the world, every day.
Tapping can be a great way to help your child relax at bedtime. It can help soothe anxiety and calm her mind, which is the most common root of sleep issues in big kids: busy brain syndrome. Whizzing thoughts and a racing mind. Tapping might just be the natural chill pill to help your kid relax at bedtime.
Here’s how to go about it:
Tap gently on the points in the diagram, while repeating a different soothing phrase at each point. The phrases should describe the issue that you’re facing and the outcome you’re aiming for.
Always start with the karate chop point, on the side of the hand. Tap 5-7 times on each point while saying the phrase of your choice.
Even though I’m not ready for bed, I am still a great kid! (tapping on karate chop)
Even thought I don’t want to go to sleep, I’m still a really good kid. (karate chop)
Even though it’s time for bed and I’m too excited to fall asleep, I’m still a great kid! (karate chop)
I’m wide awake (eyebrow)
I can’t fall asleep (side of eye)
I’m excited (under eye)
I’m thinking about what’s going to happen in school tomorrow (under nose)
It’s ok. I can relax now (chin)
I’m starting to feel calm (collarbone)
My body is starting to relax (under arm)
I’m starting to feel sleepy (top of head)
That is considered one “round” of tapping. It usually take 3-4 rounds of tapping to feel a decrease in tension, and you can do as many rounds as your child needs.
EFT works as soon as your child is old enough to understand what he is saying, so your best bet is to start at around 3 or 4 years old. Younger children can benefit from having you actually do the tapping on them, while they repeat the calming phrases that you say.
This is a great video to help you learn the tapping points.
I love this video as well – it’s a realtime interaction between an EFT practitioner and her 3 year old daughter tapping together before bed. You can see the little girl zoning out towards the end as the tapping starts to relax her.
Tapping is free, easy to learn, and has no side effects. All you need is a body and a brain. If your child is having trouble calming before bed, it’s worth a shot!