I believe that all children are born as love and light, free from worry and the burden of societal pressures. But that is not what I see when I walk into schoolyards or kindergartens – the child depots of today. What I often see are confused overstimulated young people, struggling to cope.
For many children, growing up in a child depot is tough: we drop them off early in the morning, pick them up late in the afternoon; we cram them into classrooms, deprive them of nature, and cram their heads with data. Grey replaces colour, regurgitated information replaces independent and creative thought. Slowly but surely our kids become part of an automated process, a factory that snuffs imagination.
It’s no wonder many children get sick, frustrated and stressed. And 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, can’t keep up, must try harder.
Keep up with what? The speed at which society makes us race from A to B? A speed that is making us sick.
We make our children believe there is something wrong with them, not because we are horrid parents, but because we easily become slaves to the conveyor belt we call progress, prestige and productivity.
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.
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.
Stress is everywhere
When I asked the audience at the recent TEDx conference I spoke at in Peterborough how many of them had felt stressed out, depressed or anxious during the past year or knew someone who had, the vast majority raised their hands. We see disconnection everywhere. As more and more parents encounter stress, slowly but surely this sickness finds its way to our children, its tentacles outstretched, feeding on our lack of time to just be… together.
Does it really need to be that way? A better future is already within our grasp and it can be our present if we just let it be. And by making it our present we make it our children’s present and their future. We empower them to believe anything is possible, that they can change the world.
One of the first ways we see imbalance in children is in their lack of sleep. 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.
It’s time to unplug them from society’s treadmill and plug them in to ‘heart power’, to fill their hearts with love and drown out the fear, and I believe that child meditation is key.
Becoming a mother I quickly learned that my energy affected my kids both negatively and positively. A stressed out and tired Me often resulted in distress for both of us, whereas a happy and relaxed Me, meant a happy and relaxed baby. Meditation before bedtime enabled me to share my heart’s energies with my children – it calmed me, which in turn calmed them, and soon after I made this connection, I wrote The Children’s Meditations In My Heart.
The more distress and lack of head-heart connection I saw in the clients I coached, the more I wanted to make sure my girls had access to their hearts, that they understood heart energy and wouldn’t lose that connection when they grew up. I wanted to feel connected to them, for them to feel connected to themselves, to each other, to us as parents, to the planet, Mother Earth, Father Sky, the trees, the flowers and the oceans. I wanted them to hear the songs of the universe. I wanted to protect them from the conveyor belt of stress wrapped in progress.
Meditation can help you reconnect
One night at bedtime I began sharing heart meditations with them, 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 up with love. We explored the many ways of loving, sending love, receiving love, even on a distance and sharing love with those in need.
And then I listened to them. I listened to their words in the days after the meditations. 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, that we were connecting soul to soul. Their wisdom was profound and they were so full of stories.
I soon noticed a difference in their sleep too. They would fall asleep instantly during these meditations, time and time again. This 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.
Could it be that we sleep better when we feel connected to ourselves, our hearts and each other? And could it be that when we sleep more and better, we make better choices when we are awake, enjoy life more and have more energy to pursue happiness? 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 now my books are sold in more than 20 countries. 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.
We might not agree across borders. We might have different cultures, beliefs and religions. But we all love our children. And 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. Don’t think of pre-bedtime prep as cutting your day short, make the last hour before bedtime your special ‘hygge time’ – make it the best time of the day! Encourage your child to take a warm bath, maybe offer a gentle massage or take time getting changed for bedtime.
2. Turn off all screens two hours before bedtime. The blue light in the screens wakes us up. And the screens often separate us rather than create connection.
3. When you begin to read the meditations 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 today, which is one of the reasons we see so much stress everywhere. 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.
Get the books at www.roomforreflection.com and also enroll 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