Bella has always been a very ‘full of life’ little girl, which has at times been a little bit challenging, however, I can honestly say I wouldn’t change anything about her for the world. Despite her incredible energy, she was a relatively easy baby because she loved her sleep. However, when she became a toddler things started to get a little bit harder as she’s one of those who just couldn’t sit still for more than 5 minutes. As such when it came to bedtime she would find it somewhat difficult to calm her mind and completely unwind. Now nearly 5 years old and still packed full of so much energy I decided it’s was finally time to start slipping mediation – or mindfulness as it is more fashionably called these days – into her bedtime routine.Meditation / mindfulness benefits are endless from easing depression, addiction, anxiety to the simplest of things like calming your mind. And I have to say I am so glad to see it slowly but surely creeping its way into our workplaces, schools, hospitals and even parenting – an area of which I wholeheartedly support. You see being a holistic and spiritual therapist I have practised meditation for many years now and just like everyone else who has ever practised meditation be it daily, weekly or just as and when I find it be a truly invaluable tool.
So how exactly do you teach a child how to meditate? Well, I personally found in order to get Bella to focus on her breathing (aka the key to helping her to get out of her own head) the easiest and most effective way was to get her into bed, get her to close her eyes and then together we would each take it in turns to create a little bit of a creative story, including everything and anything from fairytale castles to dancing unicorns. Our current favourite is a little series about a cat and dog going into space. The key thing though is during your adventure together is to keep a focus on the flow of both of your individual breaths. You see, when you concentrate on your breathing you are more in touch with the moment and less in touch with your inner thoughts.
If you have a restless sleeper or a child that is always lost in their thoughts I honestly can’t recommend incorporating meditation into their bedtime routine highly enough. Not only has it transformed Bella’s sleeping habits, but it has also come in pretty handy during her time-outs, as it helps her to recover from any given meltdown a lot quicker. Best of all I love the fact that mindfulness has taught my little one that, within herself, she has the inner tools to cope. And because I knew I wanted to write this post I decided to ask Bella last night if she was pleased I taught her how to meditate. Her simple reply, “Yes mummy, it makes me feel cosy and really, really good.”
“A daughter may outgrow your lap, but she will never outgrow your heart.” – Unknown