How meditation can help you and your child
Falling into the child depot trap
I believe that all children are born as love and light, free from worry and the burden of societal pressures. But what I see in schools are confused, overstimulated young people, struggling to cope.
They grow up ‘deposited’ at ‘child depots’… left there early in the morning only to be retrieved hours later. We cram them into classrooms, deprive them of nature, and fill their heads with data. Information is regurgitated whilst independent and creative thought is slowly stifled, our children swept up into an automated process with little opportunity for their imaginations to run riot. Maths and science taking priority over drama, music and art…
What are we doing to our children?
It’s no wonder so many children become sick, frustrated and stressed. Then we take them to the doctor, give them some drugs and stamp them on the forehead with a letter combination that basically spells failure, not good enough, must try harder.
The conveyer belt we call progress
We make our children believe there is something wrong with them, not because we are horrid parents, but because we too are slaves to the conveyor belt we call progress, prestige and productivity.
What are we doing to ourselves?
We rush from home to work to home, hoodwinked into believing that if we hurry now, work hard, strive to be better, faster, and more efficient, we can somehow ‘bank time’ to spend when a better future, a better version of ourselves is finally within our grasp.
A generation defined by stress
And at what price? Ours is a generation defined by stress, overshadowed by depression, illness, sleep deprivation and anxiety. The WHO is predicting stress and depression will be the biggest diseases worldwide by 2030. I recently spoke at a TEDx conference in Peterborough in the UK, and when I asked the audience to raise their hands if they had felt stressed, depressed or anxious during the past year or knew someone who had, nearly everyone did. We see disconnection everywhere. As more and more parents encounter stress, slowly but surely this sickness finds its way to our children.
Our first clue that something’s wrong
One of the first ways we see imbalance in children is in their sleeping habits. Children in general sleep one hour less than we did 25 years ago. A prolonged lack of sleep can have far-reaching consequences, especially for children. They need their sleep to rest, grow their bodies, fight disease, cleanse and to free themselves from sensory overload, the plague of the digital age.
So what can we do?
It’s time to unplug them and us from society’s treadmill and instead plug in to ‘heart power’, to fill our hearts with love, and I believe child meditation is key.
Becoming a mother I quickly learned that my energy affected my children both negatively and positively. A stressed and tired Me often resulted in distress for both of us, whereas a happy and relaxed Me, meant happy and relaxed children. Meditation before their bedtime enabled me to share my heart’s energies with them – “heart power” calmed me, which in turn calmed them, and soon after I made this connection, I wrote The Children’s Meditations In My Heart.
The secret to getting children to sleep
Through heart meditations I began teaching them to connect to their hearts. They were 3 and 6 years old. I helped them find their heart inside a beautiful love mountain. I taught them to fill their hearts with love. We explored the many ways of loving, sending love, receiving love, loving long-distance and sharing love with those in need.
In the days after I listened to their words. They would tell me the most wonderful things about life, love and the universe. I was curious, I paid attention and I had a feeling they were telling me stories from their souls. Their wisdom was profound.
I soon noticed a difference in their sleep too. They would fall asleep instantly during our bedtime meditations, which was of course a huge help for me as a mother. And so it made me think about the connection between our hearts, our time and our sleep.
Better connected via heart power
Could it be that we sleep better when we feel connected to ourselves, our hearts and each other? Are the sleep problems we see in children today the result of disconnection?
I decided to share some of my stories with other parents and my books are now sold in more than 20 countries worldwide. Each night thousands of children fall asleep inside their love mountains. And guess what? It turns out that the language of the heart is universal, regardless of background, belief and religion. We all love our children.
For my simple methodology to work all you need is to tune into the love for your child. It takes ten minutes at bedtime and makes even the most stressful day end in bliss.
5 steps to make your new bedtime routine with meditation more blissful:
1. Begin earlier than usual. Make the last hour before bedtime your special ‘hygge time’ and the best time of the day. Encourage your child to take a warm bath or maybe offer a gentle massage. Take your time getting ready for bed.
2. Turn off all screens two hours before bedtime. Blue light wakes us up.
3. Lie down next to your child and show them you have time to read 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 affect how quickly he or she calms down.
4. Keep reading even if they fall asleep. They can still hear you and take the love with them into their dreams. In the days after, talk to your child about their experience with meditation; ask how it makes them feel. Listen to your child – there is a lot to learn. Encourage your child to draw the images or feelings he or she sees or experiences during meditation.
5.Above all, enjoy the ride to heartland with your child. Learning meditation from a young age is a life-long gift. My experience is that many children have a much easier time meditating than adults. And in many ways children can help their parents turn up the love for themselves as well. I always encourage parents to pay attention to their child in meditation and learn from them.
The human race is not meant for running without rest. We are meant to use energy and then rest to refuel; the resting part however is often overlooked. Get regular rest, be present and loving at bedtime, bring out the best in yourself, and through inner peace, love and self-love, you will encourage your child to do the same.
I wish you and your child a wonderful time connecting to your hearts.
Find my books at www.roomforreflection.com and enrol in my new sleep better program where I teach and equip you with the ‘tools’ needed to put into practice my secret sleeping method.
Also watch my recent TEDx talk: TEDx conference
Gitte Winter Graugaard is a best-selling Danish author whose books are endorsed by the Royal Danish Embassy; she is also a life coach, energy mentor and lightworker.
In 2018 she launched the platform The Momo Academy (www.momo-academy.com), to make mindfulness, yoga and meditation accessible to Danish pupils. Through her online academy, schools in Denmark can now offer mindfulness as part of the curriculum.
Most recently, in April this year, she gave her first TEDx talk on how meditation and mindfulness can benefit children. And her three books, ‘The Children’s Meditations In My Heart’, ‘The Valley of Hearts’ and ‘The Monster Manual’ are all designed to enable children to be free from anxiety and to thrive through mindfulness and meditation.