When I was touring different preschools in my area, trying to find the right one for my then three-year-old, I was surprised to hear the director of the school that would ultimately be my choice of schools say to me, "Okay, here is the room where we do our mindfulness practice."
"Mindfulness?" I asked. I had done a yoga class or two and made attempts in the past to meditate, but I had never heard of mindfulness, especially for preschoolers. Mindfulness, I learned, is the use of meditation exercises to bring a sense of calm and a centered mindset. Studies show it is good for helping kids' ability to focus on school tasks, and more importantly, helps kids feel more centered and less anxious in their daily lives. My preschooler now does mindfulness several times a week at school and loves it.
Having been newly educated on the merits of mindfulness and meditation for children, I was really interested to get a copy of The Children's Meditations In My Heart by Gitte Winter Graugaard. Thanks to Room For Reflection Publishing for sending me a copy!
There's no denying that the Danish way of living is having it's year - from getting cozy with hygge or the many popular books and articles on Danish parenting. I feel like this Danish popularity is well-earned. The Danes seem to have a knack for fostering creativity, a love of nature, and lots and lots of quality family time which are all things that promote a greater sense of self-esteem and lessen anxiety in kids.
Author Graugaard is bringing some of that Danish parenting knack to bedtime with her book of meditations for parents and kids to do together to promote easier and peaceful bedtimes. According to Graugaard, she used to have the typical standoff with her daughters every night. You know the one - some one is either:
- has itchy pajamas
- is scared of the dark
- why did he get two stories but I got only one?
- where is my stuffed bear?
She noticed that when she sat down with her daughters at bedtime and led them in a meditation, the nighttime drama was gone.
"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."
The book features four sections each filled with pages of meditation exercises for the parent to read to the child at bedtime. What I find so unique about this book is how it focuses not only on mindfulness and meditation as a way to calm bedtime anxiety but also how it focuses on love as a way to calm anxiety. So many times, I get so busy with laundry, dirty dishes, and field trip permission forms, and forget to make sure I am showering enough love on my kids. This book came at the right time for me, and I hope these meditations of love become an everyday part of our bedtime routine.