In today’s show we speak with Louise Shanagher, Child Therapist
and Mindfulness Teacher about ways we can calm our busy minds and get ready for a great nights’ sleep!
Louise explained that it is very normal for lots of kids and adults
to have busy minds at the end of the day which even though we are tired, can sometimes make it difficult to get to sleep!
She taught Buster and Buddy some super tools they can use at
night to relax their bodies and calm their minds to settle down for sleep. Now they have a plan and some tools to use, Buster and Buddy feel so much more relaxed and confident now for night times.
Listen to the show to hear what Louise taught us, as well as lots of other fun stuff, like the Big BB Quiz…and kids telling us their favourite jokes in Tickle Your Funny Bone!
And remember to Stay Health, Stay Happy and Stay Well!
Email us on info@TheKidsAreAllRight.ie
Find out more details about the team, our guests, the topics we talk about AND how to send us in your stories, jokes, comments or ideas for the podcast!
Michelle and her team have a collective 50years experience working with kids as teachers, entertainers and parents! Find out more about the team on our website.
With thanks to Zapsplat and Audio Jungle for the music and sound effects.
Hello and welcome to The Kids Are All Right!, a weekly
podcast specially for kids, that’s all about health, happiness and wellness.
I’m Michelle and here with me are my co-pilots on this podcast, Buster and
Hey. Hey, guys, it’s Buster here!
Hey! Buddy checking in too!
And we are on a mission to help you all feel great and live
Each week we speak with experts who have changed advice to share
on how to feel in our heads, healthy in our bodies and happy in our lives.
Oh, and we’ll also be chatting with people who’ve got really
interesting stories to tell or have cool jobs or like a really cool attitude to
And kids, this is your podcast, so we want to hear from you.
Your opinions, your questions, your stories.
Oh, yeah…and your favourite jokes, because laughter really
is the best medicine!
Whatever is on your mind, we want to hear. All you have to
do is record yourself on the voice recorder on an adult’s phone and then email us into us. And you might just hear yourself on this podcast.
Yeah! Woooah, let’s get started!
[00:01:12.745] – Michelle
So, guys, how did you sleep last night?
[00:01:15.145] – Buster
Oh, I had the best sleep, but I had the craziest dream ever.
I was driving a car on a racetrack. I think I must have been a racing car driver or something. But it was really weird because I was wearing my swimming costume and my arm bands. My crazy dreams, they never make any sense!
[00:01:34.655] – Buddy
Yeah, sometimes I have crazy dreams too. But if I’m honest, it takes me ages to settle down and actually get to sleep. I mean, it’s funny because I am tired, but then I lie down but then it’s like as if my brain is having like a big party in my head!
[00:01:50.515] – Michelle
Yeah, that happens sometimes to me too. It’s like the more
tired I feel the busier my brain gets.
[00:01:56.215] – Buddy
Exactly! And it’s really annoying because I love my bed and
I love my sleep. But it really bothers me when I feel my brain getting busier and busier instead of quietening down. And then I start to worry that I’ll never get to sleep. And then everything just gets even crazier in my head!
[00:02:15.145] – Buster
Oh, that’s horrible Buddy!
[00:02:17.485] – Michelle
Yeah, I know. But you know what? I started researching into
why this happens and it’s actually quite normal and it happens to a lot of kids… And a lot of adults. But it’s really important that we learn what we can do to help ourselves relax.
[00:02:29.845] – Buddy
So Michelle, what exactly did you find out can help?
[00:02:33.805] – Michelle
Well, Buddy, it’s called Mindfulness. Have you ever heard of
[00:02:37.075] – Buddy
Oh, yeah, I’ve heard that, Michelle. Isn’t that what we do
at the end of each of our shows?…. But if I’m honest, I’m not exactly sure what it is.
[00:02:46.345] – Buster
Well isn’t it kind of like focusing on the right here, right now, instead of your brain being busy
thinking about what’s happened before or what’s going to happen next?
[00:02:53.945] – Michelle
Brilliant, Buster. Yeah, that’s it! It’s bringing our attention to what is happening here in this moment.
[00:02:59.185] – Buster
Yeah, like you always say, giving our brain a lovely massage.
[00:03:04.105] – Buddy
Now I get it!
[00:03:05.695] – Michelle
So, yes, sometimes we all need to find ways to relax
ourselves before settling down to sleep. So we asked you kids, do you ever find it hard to settle, to go to sleep at night? And what kind of things you do to relax down for bedtime?
[00:03:24.035] – Vox Pops
The last time I couldn’t sleep was about a few days ago when
there were just thoughts going through my mind and I was thinking about loads of things. And what helps me go to sleep is probably just read a hard book or read any book and just keep reading until your eyes start closing and then just turn off the light and go to sleep before.
[00:03:49.055] – Vox Pops
Last time when Santa came, I was really excited and I stayed
up all night.
[00:03:53.075] – Vox Pops
Sometimes I find it hard to go to sleep, like if it’s my birthday the next day on my birthday, I found it really hard to go to sleep or
if I’m worried about something
[00:04:03.035] – Vox Pops
I’m three years old and stories make me feel sleepy. And
when I go to sleep, it’s so cool.
[00:04:16.415] – Vox Pops
I read with my dad before I go to bed. I also bring my pillow to the edge of my bed and I lie facing the wall. All this helps me go to
sleep at night.
[00:04:27.035] – Vox Pops
The last time I found it hard to settle down to sleep was
last night. I find if I read a book it helps me relax at bedtime.
[00:04:35.315] – Vox Pops
Two nights ago I couldn’t get to sleep till eleven o’clock. My mom thinks it’s because my sports aren’t on and school is off. I’ve got a
teddy that relaxes me and normally reading books helps me as well.
[00:04:54.055] – Buddy
Ooh, so it’s not just me, there are lots of kds that find it
difficult to sleep sometimes.
[00:04:59.425] – Michelle
Exactly, there really are. So that’s why I thought it would be great to get an expert to speak with us today who can give us loads of tips and tools and ways we can settle down and get to sleep using some mindfulness tools.
[00:05:11.515] – Buster
Oh, yeah, that sounds really good. Michelle!
[00:05:13.675] – Michelle
Perfect. So with us today, we have Louise Shanagher and
she’s a child therapist and a mindfulness teacher. So she will definitely have loads of great tips to tell us.
[00:05:22.565] – Buster
Oh, yeah, it’s Louise from Mini Mindful Moments. I love that part of our show. I can’t wait to talk to her!
[00:05:30.115] – Michelle
So, Louise, you’re very welcome to The Kids Are All Right! Podcast. Thanks so much for joining us.
[00:05:34.435] – Louise Shanagher
Oh, thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited to be here..
[00:05:41.545] – Michelle
So Louise, can you describe basically what Mindfulness is?
[00:05:45.145] – Louise Shanagher
OK, so what Mindfulness is, is that it’s all about being in
this moment right here, right now, and it’s about paying kind, friendly attention to what’s happening in the moment.
[00:06:01.015] – Buddy
And how do you get yourself to be right here and right now?
[00:06:05.465] – Louise Shanagher
OK, well, I have a really good trick for helping you be in the moment. And sometimes it can be helpful to think about having a little monkey in our mind. So it’s like we all have this little monkey in our mind and it jumps around the place and it jumps to different thoughts….to the past, so thoughts about yesterday and what you did last week…And then maybe to thoughts about the future, like going out to play at lunchtime and it’s jumping, jumping, jumping…And what can really help is to give your monkey a job, to do. And the job that I like to give my monkey mind to do is to notice my breathing, so I ask my monkey to notice my breathing in…And my breathing out…. And to notice my belly moving as I breathe in and I breathe out. And that really helps bring my mind into the here and now.
[00:07:00.775] – Buster
But why is it so important to be right here right now? I love to daydream about what I’m going to do later or what I’m going to do at the weekend.
[00:07:08.945] – Louise Shanagher
Yeah, and that’s OK. But sometimes we can have lots of
worries in our mind, and that doesn’t feel so good in our bodies or in our heads. And sometimes our mind can be really, really, really busy. Or sometimes we just need to pay attention in school. So, when we bring our mind into the moment and we practice our mindfulness, the science shows us that our mind begins to feel calmer and clearer and we feel more peaceful and we feel happy inside and we can pay attention better. So it’s something we can do to be really kind to ourselves and to look after ourselves.
[00:07:49.615] – Michelle
And, you know, from what I’ve been reading, there really is now so much science that proves incredible benefits of mindfulness and that, in fact, if you get into the habit of doing small moments of mindfulness every day, science shows that really incredible changes happen in our bodies. Isn’t that right?
[00:08:08.005] – Louise Shanagher
Yeah, it’s called neuroplasticity. And what happens is just like when we do exercise for our bodies and that keeps our body safe and healthy, when we practice mindfulness, it’s like exercise for our mind and to keeps our mind safe and healthy. And it actually changes the shape of our brain. And that part of the brain that gives us that fear feeling that’s called the Amydala…And Mindfulness makes it smaller. And the part of the brain that helps us make choices and helps restore calm and peaceful, and this is called the prefrontal cortex, gets bigger.
[00:08:47.605] – Michelle
Wow, that’s incredible. So Mindfulness actually makes the fear part of our minds get smaller and the happy, peaceful part get bigger. Wow.
[00:08:55.775] – Louise Shanagher
[00:08:57.145] – Buddy
And you were saying about exercise for the body and how this
can help us exercise our minds. But obviously you can go to places like a gym to exercise your body. So when it comes to Mindfulness, do I have to go to a quiet place like a room? Because sometimes it can be really difficult when you have friends or family around, especially my family. They’re so noisy!
[00:09:18.805] – Louise Shanagher
I know my family is noisy, too! But yes, the great thing about Mindfulness, you can actually do any time anywhere and no one needs to know that you’re doing it. You just notice your breathing. Or another way of doing it is that you can notice what you can see and hear and touch and smell and taste around you, because when you notice what you can see and hear and touch and smell and taste, that brings you into the moment. And no one needs to know that you’re doing it and you can do it any time you like and as much as you like.
[00:09:52.175] – Buddy
Oh, that’s cool! Oh, can we try that now?
[00:09:55.415] – Louise Shanagher
Yeah, we can try.
[00:09:57.275] – Buddy
OK, let me see. I’m noticing that there’s a funny smell. Oh
Buster you left your rotten sandwich on the table again!!
[00:10:05.465] – Buster
Oh ho ho, sorry Buddy!! So when should I do this Mindful
[00:10:08.255] – Louise Shanagher
Oh, the best thing to do with Mindfulness is to do it all the time so we can do it lots of times throughout the day. And I call it Mini
Mindfulness Moments and I like to do Mindfulness all throughout the day. And we can do some Mindful breathing in the morning and maybe we could do some mindful listening when we’re in school and we can do some Mindful tasting when we’re eating our dinner. And we can do so Mindful touch when we’re home from school and basically we do it all throughout the day. Because the more you practice your Mindfulness, the more your brain changes and the more your brain changes into a happier, healthier brain. So it really works really well to do it all the time.
[00:10:51.815] – Buddy
And also Louise, I find it at nighttime in particular, I’m so tired, but my brain won’t settle down to go to sleep. Can you tell me a couple of things I could do that could maybe help getting to sleep be a little easier for me?
[00:11:06.645] – Louise Shanagher
Well, sometimes in our minds, it’s really stormy and there’s lots of thoughts going round and round in our minds. Our muscles can feel quite tight so what can help is to relax our muscles.
And a really good way to relax our muscles is actually to tighten them a little bit more and then really relax them. So would you like to have a go practising that.
[00:11:28.865] – Buster
[00:11:29.825] – Louise Shanagher
Great. OK, so what we do now is we squeeze our hands into tight little balls. Imagine you’re squeezing oranges. Now… Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze…And relax.
And now imagine your fingers really relaxing and Wiggle,
wiggle your fingers. And squeeze your feet really tight, as if you’re walking on a tightrope. Tight, tight, tight….and then wiggle, wiggle, wiggle your toes.
Now, squeeze your face really tight, tight tight…. And relax your face..until it’s all soft. And now we’re going to squeeze our body…TIght, tight, tight like we’re a little seed in the ground in the winter. And now we’re going to imagine that we’re going to grow and grow up through the ground.
And imagine it’s springtime and you’re growing…and stretch, stretch, stretch…and imagine you’re a beautiful flower swaying in the sunshine ….And stretch your fingers and stretch your toes. And wiggle, wiggle, wiggle…And relax . Do you feel nice and relaxed now?
[00:12:51.965] – Buster
[00:12:51.965] – Louise Shanagher
Yeah, When we relax our bodies it helps to relax our minds.
[00:13:05.285] – Michelle
Louise Buster is always full of so much extra energy at night time. Like what other suggestions might you have for Buster particular.
[00:13:12.995] – Louise Shanagher
Yeah. So sometimes that happens because at the end of the
day, we’ve so many different thoughts and feelings and it can be like we have a busy, busy storm in our mind and that can maybe make a going to sleep a little bit difficult. So when we practice
some mindfulness we can calm this storm in our mind and help us feel clearer and more relaxed and more sleepy. So the first thing I like to do is a nice, slow breathing mindfulness moment. And it’s called Bear breathing attitude. So pretend that you are a little bear in the winter and you’re hibernating.
And when bears hibernate, their breathing becomes very slow….so imagine that you’re a bear and you’re hibernating in your cave, and we’re going to breathe slowly …In for three.. .Hold for Four and Out for six…And we do this againand we do this three times. And when we do this, this helps our bodies to calm
and feel more relaxed and peaceful.
[00:14:18.785] – Buddy
Right. OK, so now I’ve got two things I can try out tonight.
That’s great. But is there anything else you would suggest?
[00:14:25.235] – Louise Shanagher
Yeah. So one thing that’s really important is to be a kindand caring friend to ourselves and one way I love to be a friend to myself isby saying kind and caring words to myself.
[00:14:38.165] – Michelle
Oh, right! So are these the Night time Affirmations you say
are a great way to get our brains to settle at bedtime? Wow.
[00:14:45.695] – Louise Shanagher
Yeah. So what we can do is we can put our hands on our
hearts. Do you want to try?
[00:14:51.512] – Buster
[00:14:52.298] – Louise Shanagher
And we’re going to say some kind and caring words. So the
first one is “I am safe”.
[00:15:00.365] – Buddy
[00:15:05.195] – Louise Shanagher
I am loved.
[00:15:05.885] – Buster
I am loved.
[00:15:10.415] – Louise Shanagher
I am just right.
[00:15:11.855] – Buster
I am just right.
[00:15:13.625] – Louise Shanagher
Tomorrow will be a great day.
[00:15:16.775] – Buddy
Tomorrow will be a great day.
[00:15:20.315] – Louise Shanagher
Yeah, I am ready for a long and good night sleep.
[00:15:25.715] – Buster
I am ready for a long and good night’s sleep.
[00:15:31.955] – Louise Shanagher
Now give yourself a big hug. Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze…
Tight, tight tight. . So how you feel?
[00:15:45.065] – Buster
They’re amazing. These affirmations are brilliant, they’re
kind of like super powers that we have up our sleeves. Yay!
[00:15:55.835] – Louise Shanagher
Yeah, absolutely. And you can use them anytime you like.
Just like the Mindfulness. No one needs to even know. Oh, that’s brilliant.
[00:16:03.215] – Buddy
My favorite things are Superheroes. So Louise, this is
making me feel super powerful!
[00:16:08.305] – Louise Shanagher
Oh, I’m so glad. They really helped me and they really help
all the children I work with. So I think they might help you, too.
[00:16:15.215] – Michelle
It’s great to have a plan. It’s great to have tools. It’s great to know what to do because I think sometimes that stresses you more and then your brain gets even busier as you worry about trying to get to sleep. So having a plan, having tools is great.
[00:16:29.345] – Louise Shanagher
This is what it’s all about. It’s all about learning how to look after and be kind to our mind. This is what mindfulness is all about.
Yeah, that’s lovely.
[00:16:38.405] – Buddy
Louise, could I ask you a really important question? It’s
our favourite question to ask all of our guests. It’s called Big Me to Little Me! So if you could teleport back in time, what advice would Big Louise give to little Louise?
[00:16:58.355] – Louise Shanagher
OK, so I really love this question because when I was a
little girl, I used to worry and I actually used to find it hard to go to sleep sometimes. So the first thing I would say is that I would tell LIttle Louise that all her feelings are OK, that there are no bad feelings to have. And I’d also tell her not to compare herself to other people because I think she used to do that a bit. And to remember that she is perfect and that she is amazing, just she is.
[00:17:28.505] – Buddy
Oh wow, that lovely!
[00:17:28.835] – Buster
Oh, wait, Louise, before you go, I really, really need to
know, what’s your favourite food?
[00:17:32.705] – Louise Shanagher
My favorite food is ooooh, Pasta!
[00:17:40.265] – Michelle
Louise, you’re going to have us all having the best night’s
sleep ever. This will be a really great help for lots of kids and I have a feeling, for lots of tired adults, too.
[00:17:49.445] – Buster
Thanks so much Louise! Bye!
[00:18:01.325] – Buddy
Wow, Buster. We learned so much from Louise there about
settling down to get a good night’s sleep. And I feel so much more relaxed and confident for tonight now that I have all those tools to calm my monkey mind.
[00:18:13.975] – Buster
Oh yeah and the Mindful breathing was good too. It’s great to know that there are tools you can use to take control of your head when it jumps around the place and you just want
to go sleep. And we can also use the squeeze and relax to to squeeze all the different parts of our bodies and then just let them go. And this will help get our physical body relaxed and give our brain something else to do.
[00:18:39.545] – Buster
Oh, yeah. And the Bear Breathing where we breath in for three, hold for four and then out for six. And we can do this as many times as we like until we feel relaxed.
[00:18:51.605] – Buddy
And don’t forget about those Super powers, we can use those
affirmations. Louise told us about our secret weapon to tell our brains what we want to do. Like “I am safe, warm and cozy in my bed. Yeah, I’m ready for a good night’s sleep.
[00:19:27.515] – Buster
Hey, is it time yet, is it time yet, is it time yet??
[00:19:29.915] – Buddy
Oh yeah!. It’s both our favourite time. It’s time to Tickle
Your Funny Bone!
[00:21:18.675] – Michelle
So, guys, that’s almost it for us for today. Thanks to all
the kids who sent in their audio clips this week. If you have something you want to tell us, a story, a question or your favorite joke, we’d love to hear from you. All you have to do is record it in the voice recorder app on a parent’s smartphone and then email it to us. And the email is in our show notes
[00:21:35.955] – Buddy
and you can check out our website. www.thekidsareallright.ie
for more details about sending in your clips and you’ll find a little more info about the show and everyone that we have on pretty much everything that we talk about.
[00:21:49.275] – Buster
Yeah, we really hope you enjoyed this week’s show. If so please rate, review. Subscribe and tell your friends.
[00:21:55.425] – Michelle
Please do. And remember, guys, try to be Healthy.
[00:21:59.355] – Buster
[00:21:59.355] – Buddy
And Be Happy!
[00:22:02.105] – Michelle
See you next time on The Kids Are All Right!
[00:22:04.315] – Buddy
It’s time to Air Guitar in the Car! Let’s Rock!!