Is your child having a hard time falling asleep? Here’s how child meditation can help.

Is your child having a hard time falling asleep? Here's how child meditation can help.

Our children are growing up in a different time age. The digital age is so much faster and louder than what we had to cope with when we were kids.

Now more than ever children are bombarded with impressions, messages, expectations which when coupled with the casualties of modern living, over-scheduling and long school days, can greatly impact on their mental wellbeing. And today sadly more children than ever before suffer with stress, depression, anxiety and sadness.

One hour less sleep.

Sleep, or rather the lack of it, is one of the first indications for parents that something might be off kilter.

Just like adults – or maybe even more – children are just as susceptible to the pitfalls of a stressful day, and more and more lie awake at night, unable to ‘switch off’ and with racing thoughts. Worry is often an overriding factor, and many have a hard time letting go.

In general children today sleep one hour less than we did 25 years ago. Like adults, sleep problems in children tend to have a knock-on effect, often manifesting in irritability and lack of focus at school. And having a child who can’t fall asleep is also very exhausting for parents.

Why children can’t sleep.

The world we show our children is spinning so much faster than the one our parents showed us. It is said that a child today receives as much stimulus in one day, as their great grandparents did in an entire year when they were children. Of course, this is a generalisation but think about it for a moment.

The best way to teach our children how to navigate is to remember to navigate ourselves. The human race is not meant for ongoing activities. We are meant to use energy and then rest to refuel. But we seem to have forgotten about the resting part. Hardly surprising then that so many parents also have trouble sleeping.

We need to equip our children with these resources to enable them to deal with all that society has to throw at them, the constant overload of information and messages, and to help them to recharge.

We can’t stop development and we cannot change society overnight. What we can do however, is teach our children how to navigate in the hasty world they are growing up in. Children really need their sleep and we can teach them methods to calm down and find the peace needed to be able to let go.

How meditation can help.

When my girls were 3 and 6 I started sharing beautiful heart meditations with them and they loved it. And I was so surprised to see how quickly they would fall asleep.

As different as children are, almost every child delights in hearing love and heart energy which many meditations offer. Learning how to turn up their self-love can give children so much comfort that they relax and fall asleep.

A recorded guided meditation can be a good place to start if you are not yourself familiar with meditation. However, I recommend that you always sit with your child and listen along if you decide play a meditation for your child. Your presence is very important. Too often I hear that parents leave the room to go fix something else, while the child is listening to a meditation. The outcome of the meditation if you stay and lie down with your child and relax is so much better. If your older child insists that you leave the room, that would be okay, but a younger child would most likely want you to stay.

How to best guide your child to meditate.

Even better is reading a meditation to your child yourself. Order a book with child meditations or go to your library. When you read the meditation to your child, your energy helps the child a lot and your guidance makes your child feel safe. To your child no voice is sweeter than yours, because it comes along with all that you are and all that you radiate.

If you decide to read a meditation to your child at bedtime, becoming aware of your energy as a parent is crucial. Reading meditations when you can be present, loving, and calm at bedtime, can help your child to find inner peace, love and even self-love. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Pick a time when you feel good, and have the energy to help your child deal with a new method of falling asleep.
  2. Turn off all screens two hours before bedtime, including your own.
  3. Slow down the last hour before reading.
  4. Maybe even give – or let your child take a warm, relaxing bath. Even better – end the bath with a gentle massage with a nice oil.
  5. Stay calm and loving in your energy even if your child has difficulties with the new method. Your energy, mood and way of communicating with your child highly affect how quickly he/she calms down. You can read even begin by reading one of your child’s favorite books, so the new meditation book becomes an add-on.
  6. Lay down next to your child and show him/her you have time to read the book in a calm and cosy way. Snuggle up. And if you fall asleep yourself, that might be just what you need! Listen to what your body is telling you.
  7. Stay calm, loving even if your child doesn’t want to close his eyes or moves around. There is no right or wrong way to meditate. When children begin to breathe and shift their attention to their body, which many guided meditations will teach them, it is naturally that they want to move around a bit. For some kids closing their eyes can be a bit of a challenge. Just ask them to stare at a specific spot in the room until they are ready to close their eyes. Invite them gently into the meditation.
  8. Speak in a calm, loving voice and remember to take pauses.
  9. In the days after the meditation you can talk to your child about the experience. Listen to your child – there is a lot to learn.
  10. Encourage your child to draw – or write about the images or feelings he/she sees or experiences during meditation.

Enjoy the ride when meditating with your child. My experience is that many children have a much easier time meditating to their hearts than adults. And in many ways children can help parents turn up the love for themselves as well.

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥ 

‘The Children’s Meditations in My Heart’

Seeing the positive effect my stories with meditation had on my own children made me write down the meditations for friends who were wondering what my secret was. When the meditations also helped my friends’ children to sleep, I decided to turn the meditations into a book, which is now sold in 14 countries worldwide, and helping thousands of children to fall asleep. The book has also proven helpful for many children with special needs.

The Danish bedtime meditation book “The Children’s Meditations In my Heart” can be ordered as a PDF, kindle version and/or hardcover. Find more details at www.roomforreflection.com


About the Author: Gitte Winter

Gitte Winter, is a Danish writer, life coach, energy mentor, mindfulness instructor and lightworker (Roomforreflection.com). She is on a mission to help parents help their children to thrive through child meditation. Gitte helps parents become aware of their energy and what they radiate and teach parents to always parent themselves first before they parent their children. Gitte is also the founder of Momo Academy (www.momo-academy.com) with a mission to help Danish schools offer mindfulness to the pupils as part of their education. She also coaches parents and do workshops. Check out the blog at Room for Reflection and Facebook for the latest news on child meditation and mindfulness.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Follow Hey Sigmund on Instagram

Anxiety is a sign that the brain has registered threat and is mobilising the body to get to safety. One of the ways it does this is by organising the body for movement - to fight the danger or flee the danger. 

If there is no need or no opportunity for movement, that fight or flight fuel will still be looking for expression. This can come out as wriggly, fidgety, hyperactive behaviour. This is why any of us might pace or struggle to sit still when we’re anxious. 

If kids or teens are bouncing around, wriggling in their chairs, or having trouble sitting still, it could be anxiety. Remember with anxiety, it’s not about what is actually safe but about what the brain perceives. New or challenging work, doing something unfamiliar, too much going on, a tired or hungry body, anything that comes with any chance of judgement, failure, humiliation can all throw the brain into fight or flight.

When this happens, the body might feel busy, activated, restless. This in itself can drive even more anxiety in kids or teens. Any of us can struggle when we don’t feel comfortable in our own bodies. 

Anxiety is energy with nowhere to go. To move through anxiety, give the energy somewhere to go - a fast walk, a run, a whole-body shake, hula hooping, kicking a ball - any movement that spends the energy will help bring the brain and body back to calm.♥️
.
.
.
#parenting #anxietyinkids #childanxiety #parenting #parent
This is not bad behaviour. It’s big behaviour a from a brain that has registered threat and is working hard to feel safe again. 

‘Threat’ isn’t about what is actually safe or not, but about what the brain perceives. The brain can perceive threat when there is any chance missing out on or messing up something important, anything that feels unfamiliar, hard, or challenging, feeling misunderstood, thinking you might be angry or disappointed with them, being separated from you, being hungry or tired, anything that pushes against their sensory needs - so many things. 

During anxiety, the amygdala in the brain is switched to high volume, so other big feelings will be too. This might look like tears, sadness, or anger. 

Big feelings have a good reason for being there. The amygdala has the very important job of keeping us safe, and it does this beautifully, but not always with grace. One of the ways the amygdala keeps us safe is by calling on big feelings to recruit social support. When big feelings happen, people notice. They might not always notice the way we want to be noticed, but we are noticed. This increases our chances of safety. 

Of course, kids and teens still need our guidance and leadership and the conversations that grow them, but not during the emotional storm. They just won’t hear you anyway because their brain is too busy trying to get back to safety. In that moment, they don’t want to be fixed or ‘grown’. They want to feel seen, safe and heard. 

During the storm, preserve your connection with them as much as you can. You might not always be able to do this, and that’s okay. None of this is about perfection. If you have a rupture, repair it as soon as you can. Then, when their brains and bodies come back to calm, this is the time for the conversations that will grow them. 

Rather than, ‘What consequences do they need to do better?’, shift to, ‘What support do they need to do better?’ The greatest support will come from you in a way they can receive: ‘What happened?’ ‘What can you do differently next time?’ ‘You’re the most wonderful kid and I know you didn’t want this to happen. How can you put things right? Do you need my help with that?’♥️
Big behaviour is a sign of a nervous system in distress. Before anything, that vulnerable nervous system needs to be brought back home to felt safety. 

This will happen most powerfully with relationship and connection. Breathe and be with. Let them know you get it. This can happen with words or nonverbals. It’s about feeling what they feel, but staying regulated.

If they want space, give them space but stay in emotional proximity, ‘Ok I’m just going to stay over here. I’m right here if you need.’

If they’re using spicy words to make sure there is no confusion about how they feel about you right now, flag the behaviour, then make your intent clear, ‘I know how upset you are and I want to understand more about what’s happening for you. I’m not going to do this while you’re speaking to me like this. You can still be mad, but you need to be respectful. I’m here for you.’

Think of how you would respond if a friend was telling you about something that upset her. You wouldn’t tell her to calm down, or try to fix her (she’s not broken), or talk to her about her behaviour. You would just be there. You would ‘drop an anchor’ and steady those rough seas around her until she feels okay enough again. Along the way you would be doing things that let her know your intent to support her. You’d do this with you facial expressions, your voice, your body, your posture. You’d feel her feels, and she’d feel you ‘getting her’. It’s about letting her know that you understand what she’s feeling, even if you don’t understand why (or agree with why). 

It’s the same for our children. As their important big people, they also need leadership. The time for this is after the storm has passed, when their brains and bodies feel safe and calm. Because of your relationship, connection and their felt sense of safety, you will have access to their ‘thinking brain’. This is the time for those meaningful conversations: 
- ‘What happened?’
- ‘What did I do that helped/ didn’t help?’
- ‘What can you do differently next time?’
- ‘You’re a great kid and I know you didn’t want this to happen, but here we are. What can you do to put things right? Do you need my help with that?’♥️
As children grow, and especially by adolescence, we have the illusion of control but whether or not we have any real influence will be up to them. The temptation to control our children will always come from a place of love. Fear will likely have a heavy hand in there too. When they fall, we’ll feel it. Sometimes it will feel like an ache in our core. Sometimes it will feel like failure or guilt, or anger. We might wish we could have stopped them, pushed a little harder, warned a little bigger, stood a little closer. We’re parents and we’re human and it’s what this parenting thing does. It makes fear and anxiety billow around us like lost smoke, too easily.

Remember, they want you to be proud of them, and they want to do the right thing. When they feel your curiosity over judgement, and the safety of you over shame, it will be easier for them to open up to you. Nobody will guide them better than you because nobody will care more about where they land. They know this, but the magic happens when they also know that you are safe and that you will hold them, their needs, their opinions and feelings with strong, gentle, loving hands, no matter what.♥️
Anger is the ‘fight’ part of the fight or flight response. It has important work to do. Anger never exists on its own. It exists to hold other more vulnerable emotions in a way that feels safer. It’s sometimes feels easier, safer, more acceptable, stronger to feel the ‘big’ that comes with anger, than the vulnerability that comes with anxiety, sadness, loneliness. This isn’t deliberate. It’s just another way our bodies and brains try to keep us safe. 

The problem isn’t the anger. The problem is the behaviour that can come with the anger. Let there be no limits on thoughts and feelings, only behaviour. When children are angry, as long as they are safe and others are safe, we don’t need to fix their anger. They aren’t broken. Instead, drop the anchor: as much as you can - and this won’t always be easy - be a calm, steadying, loving presence to help bring their nervous systems back home to calm. 

Then, when they are truly calm, and with love and leadership, have the conversations that will grow them - 
- What happened? 
- What can you do differently next time?
- You’re a really great kid. I know you didn’t want this to happen but here we are. How can you make things right. Would you like some ideas? Do you need some help with that?
- What did I do that helped? What did I do that didn’t help? Is there something that might feel more helpful next time?

When their behaviour falls short of ‘adorable’, rather than asking ‘What consequences they need to do better?’ let the question be, ‘What support do they need to do better.’ Often, the biggest support will be a conversation with you, and that will be enough.♥️
.
.
#parenting #positiveparenting #mindfulparenting #anxietyinkids

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This