BOOKS – Asleep in Minutes… Bedtime the Danish way
How bedtime meditation helps children to sleep
FROM ‘Hygge’ to parenting, the Danish way of doing things is often widely talked about and one of Denmark’s latest exports is no exception. “The Children’s Meditations In my Heart” by emerging Danish author Gitte Winter Graugaard enables children to fall asleep within minutes. Now available in three different languages, it is beginning to change bedtime routines the world over.
What’s her secret? A method so simple it will surprise you: you’ve just got to turn up the love.
A collection of four meditations for parents to read to their children, Graugaard’s book shows parents how to teach their child the importance of self-esteem and self-love, enabling them to drift off into calming, reparative sleep, their hearts full with love.
Now more than ever our children 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.
Sleep, or rather a difficulty in falling asleep, is one of the most obvious tell-tale signs that ‘something’s up’, and in general, children today sleep for one hour less than they did 25 years ago.
Continual information overload and lack of sleep makes for a challenging cocktail for any child and of course their parents, with research indicating that children who consistently miss out on sleep can, over time, show symptoms similar to reactions we see in children with ADHD.
Asked why she thinks meditation before bedtime is key to overcoming anxiety in children and the pre-slumber ‘stand-off’, Graugaard draws on her own experiences as a parent:
“When I started sharing beautiful heart meditations with my daughters, I was surprised to see how much they loved the interaction and how quickly they would fall asleep. As different as children are, almost every child delights in hearing about how much a parent or caregiver loves and treasures them. Even teenagers – to my surprise! – seem to be calmed by hearing the meditations in the book read aloud. However, the best part is that your child learns to fill his or her own heart with love. And learning how to turn up their self-love has shown to give children so much comfort long into the following day too, at nursery or school and beyond.”
Seeing the positive effect on her own children made her write down the meditations for other parents to share with their children.
Now available in the UK and US “The Children’s Meditations In My Heart” is available from www.amazon.co.uk priced £14.95 for a hard copy, £4.97 for a kindle copy, www.amazon.com priced $3.96 for a kindle copy and $15.00 for a paperback, and £5.09 for a pdf download from www.roomforreflection.com.
The Children’s Meditations In my Heart – Getting Started
“Self-esteem and self-love are invaluable resources in life that we need to teach our children to help them deal with all the messages they receive from society and screens, and to help them recharge,” Gitte Winter Graugaard
Her method is simple: become a present, loving and calm parent at bedtime, bring out the best in yourself, and through inner peace, love and self-love, encourage your child to do the same.
- Pick a time when you feel good and have energy to help your child deal with a new method to fall asleep.
- 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.
- Turn off all screens two hours before bedtime.
- 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, you might need just that.
- 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 parents to pay attention to their child in meditation and learn from them,” says Graugaard.