How Mindfulness and Meditation can Help a Child – guest post from Gitte Winter
The world would look a lot different if all children and their parents would fill their hearts with love every evening before nodding off to dreamland.
Children today are no more fragile than we were when we grew up. But now more than ever our little ones are bombarded with messages, overt and subliminal, wrangling with expectations both perceived and real, which when coupled with the casualties of modern living, stressed and divorced parents, stressed and still together parents, over-scheduling and long school days, can greatly impact on their mental wellbeing: more children than ever before suffer with stress, depression, anxiety and sadness. The world we show our children is so much faster and louder than the world we were shown by our parents.
One very effective way to help our children cope is to teach them the art of meditation, to help them train their awareness of their bodies through mindfulness and breathing techniques. Mindfulness and meditation can both prevent stress in children and help heal children with stress.
You as a parent don’t need to practice meditation yourself to be able to help your child get started with meditation.
All you need is my book “The Children’s Meditations In my Heart” and an awareness of your own energy.
Many parents may think they have a hard time of it when it comes to the bedtime ‘stand-off’, but they may be surprised to learn that it is their own negative energy and mood that have been building the barriers. Children tune in to your energy and if they sense a negative or apprehensive vibe, they will find it hard to drift off. You relax, your child will relax.
Good advice to get you started with The Children’s Meditations In My Heart:
Turn off all screens two hours before bedtime, including your own. Slow down all activities. Let your child take a warm bath, and a good children’s massage is recommendable. Touching is so important to reduce stress.
Pick a time when you feel good and have energy to help your child deal with a new method of falling asleep. Think about how you are feeling and what expectations you have for the coming bedtime. Become conscious of your mood and feelings.
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!
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.
Talk to your child about the experience with meditation. Listen — there is a lot to learn. Encourage your child to draw the images or feelings he/she sees or experiences during meditation.
Enjoy the ride to heartland 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 their parents turn up the love for themselves as well. I always encourage the parents to pay attention to their child in meditation and learn from them.
Gitte Winter, is a Danish writer, life coach, energy mentor, mindfulness instructor and light worker (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 teaches parents to always parent themselves first before they parent their children. Gitte is also founder of the Momo Academy (www.momo-academy.com), which enables Danish schools to offer mindfulness to their pupils as part of their education. She also coaches parents and provides workshops. Check out her blog at Room for Reflection and Facebook for the latest news on child meditation and mindfulness.