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.

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When things feel hard or the world feels big, children will be looking to their important adults for signs of safety. They will be asking, ‘Do you think I'm safe?' 'Do you think I can do this?' With everything in us, we have to send the message, ‘Yes! Yes love, this is hard and you are safe. You can do hard things.'

Even if we believe they are up to the challenge, it can be difficult to communicate this with absolute confidence. We love them, and when they're distressed, we're going to feel it. Inadvertently, we can align with their fear and send signals of danger, especially through nonverbals. 

What they need is for us to align with their 'brave' - that part of them that wants to do hard things and has the courage to do them. It might be small but it will be there. Like a muscle, courage strengthens with use - little by little, but the potential is always there.

First, let them feel you inside their world, not outside of it. This lets their anxious brain know that support is here - that you see what they see and you get it. This happens through validation. It doesn't mean you agree. It means that you see what they see, and feel what they feel. Meet the intensity of their emotion, so they can feel you with them. It can come off as insincere if your nonverbals are overly calm in the face of their distress. (Think a zen-like low, monotone voice and neutral face - both can be read as threat by an anxious brain). Try:

'This is big for you isn't it!' 
'It's awful having to do things you haven't done before. What you are feeling makes so much sense. I'd feel the same!

Once they really feel you there with them, then they can trust what comes next, which is your felt belief that they will be safe, and that they can do hard things. 

Even if things don't go to plan, you know they will cope. This can be hard, especially because it is so easy to 'catch' their anxiety. When it feels like anxiety is drawing you both in, take a moment, breathe, and ask, 'Do I believe in them, or their anxiety?' Let your answer guide you, because you know your young one was built for big, beautiful things. It's in them. Anxiety is part of their move towards brave, not the end of it.
Sometimes we all just need space to talk to someone who will listen without giving advice, or problem solving, or lecturing. Someone who will let us talk, and who can handle our experiences and words and feelings without having to smooth out the wrinkles or tidy the frayed edges. 

Our kids need this too, but as their important adults, it can be hard to hush without needing to fix things, or gather up their experience and bundle it into a learning that will grow them. We do this because we love them, but it can also mean that they choose not to let us in for the wrong reasons. 

We can’t help them if we don’t know what’s happening in their world, and entry will be on their terms - even more as they get older. As they grow, they won’t trust us with the big things if we don’t give them the opportunity to learn that we can handle the little things (which might feel seismic to them). They won’t let us in to their world unless we make it safe for them to.

When my own kids were small, we had a rule that when I picked them up from school they could tell me anything, and when we drove into the driveway, the conversation would be finished if they wanted it to be. They only put this rule into play a few times, but it was enough for them to learn that it was safe to talk about anything, and for me to hear what was happening in that part of their world that happened without me. My gosh though, there were times that the end of the conversation would be jarring and breathtaking and so unfinished for me, but every time they would come back when they were ready and we would finish the chat. As it turned out, I had to trust them as much as I wanted them to trust me. But that’s how parenting is really isn’t it.

Of course there will always be lessons in their experiences we will want to hear straight up, but we also need them to learn that we are safe to come to.  We need them to know that there isn’t anything about them or their life we can’t handle, and when the world feels hard or uncertain, it’s safe here. By building safety, we build our connection and influence. It’s just how it seems to work.♥️
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#parenting #parenthood #mindfulparenting
Words can be hard sometimes. The right words can be orbital and unconquerable and hard to grab hold of. Feelings though - they’ll always make themselves known, with or without the ‘why’. 

Kids and teens are no different to the rest of us. Their feelings can feel bigger than words - unfathomable and messy and too much to be lassoed into language. If we tap into our own experience, we can sometimes (not all the time) get an idea of what they might need. 

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Often, ‘I can’t’ means, ‘What if I can’t?’ or, ‘Do you think I can?’, or, ‘Will you still think I’m brave, strong, and capable of I fail?’ They need to know that the outcome won’t make any difference at all to how much you adore them, and how capable and exceptional you think they are. By focusing on process, (the courage to give it a go), we clear the runway so they can feel safer to crawl, then walk, then run, then fly. 

It takes time to reach full flight in anything, but in the meantime the stumbling can make even the strongest of hearts feel vulnerable. The more we focus on process over outcome (their courage to try over the result), and who they are over what they do (their courage, tenacity, curiosity over the outcome), the safer they will feel to try new things or hard things. We know they can do hard things, and the beauty and expansion comes first in the willingness to try. 
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#parenting #mindfulparenting #positiveparenting #mindfulparent
Never in the history of forever has there been such a  lavish opportunity for a year to be better than the last. Not to be grabby, but you know what I’d love this year? Less opportunities that come in the name of ‘resilience’. I’m ready for joy, or adventure, or connection, or gratitude, or courage - anything else but resilience really. Opportunities for resilience have a place, but 2020 has been relentless with its servings, and it’s time for an out breath. Here’s hoping 2021 will be a year that wraps its loving arms around us. I’m ready for that. x
The holidays are a wonderland of everything that can lead to hyped up, exhausted, cranky, excited, happy kids (and adults). Sometimes they’ll cycle through all of these within ten minutes. Sugar will constantly pry their little mouths wide open and jump inside, routines will laugh at you from a distance, there will be gatherings and parties, and everything will feel a little bit different to usual. And a bit like magic. 

Know that whatever happens, it’s all part of what the holidays are meant to look like. They aren’t meant to be pristine and orderly and exactly as planned. They were never meant to be that. Christmas is about people, your favourite ones, not tasks. If focusing on the people means some of the tasks fall down, let that be okay, because that’s what Christmas is. It’s about you and your people. It’s not about proving your parenting stamina, or that you’ve raised perfectly well-behaved humans, or that your family can polish up like the catalog ones any day of the week, or that you can create restaurant quality meals and decorate the table like you were born doing it. Christmas is messy and ridiculous and exhausting and there will be plenty of frayed edges. And plenty of magic. The magic will happen the way it always happens. Not with the decorations or the trimmings or the food or the polish, but by being with the ones you love, and the ones who love you right back.

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