Children's Meditations book brings Danish hygge to bedtime
Children’s Meditations In My Heart, by Gitte Winter Graugaard (£14.95, Room For Reflection Publishing)
With test season in full swing, the importance of pupils getting a good night’s sleep is paramount. But worries about school, friends, arguments and all the other stresses which feature in everyday life can prevent children from nodding off.
The Danish – who coined the term 'hygge' for homely, cosy feelings and moments with loved ones – have found that children can be lulled to sleep in minutes thanks to meditation-style ‘stories’ and author Gitte Winter Graugaard has let us in with their secret in her new book, Children’s Meditations In My Heart.
Gitte says, “Children today sleep one hour less than we did 25 years ago. It might be the same in your country? We need to teach our children to handle their thoughts and get enough sleep.
“This is a collection of meditations originally published in Danish, which focus on the love you already share in your family. They give you a language full of symbols of love, and strengthen your child's sense of belonging and self-love.
“The book contains four short stories for sharing together. After a brief introduction, you will guide your child into their heart and teach your child to fill their heart with love. In the later meditations, your child will learn to send and receive love from a distance, to pick up love from the little cloud of love, and to send love out into the universe.
“You will also enjoy your own beautiful journey into your heartland with your child. If it's been a long time since you've been there, you can feel confident that your child will show you the way.”
Our editor Victoria Galligan reviewed the book with her children, aged six and two.
Victoria said, “Children’s Meditations in My Heart is a beautiful book, inside and out. The cover shows a heart being projected out of a door on a mountain: and all becomes clear when you settle down at bedtime.
“The message in the stories is direct and soothing: you are loved, and when you love others it makes you happy.
“The stories feature mental pictures of nature scenes and encourage deep breathing and quiet reflection, telling children to ‘think about your heart’ and ‘choose what colour your flower is’ but not to talk, just to reflect.
“My six-year-old took part wholeheartedly and was pretty much instantly relaxed. I’m not going to lie: bedtimes in our house can get quite frantic so I didn’t hold high expectations of the book’s magic. But she lay down and closed her eyes straight away, breathing deeply and smiling as I read the mediation. She loved the part where the love spreads through each part of the body, before beaming out onto all she meets!
“The book recommends reading to children separately and our two-year-old is perhaps a little too young to stop and listen for eight to ten minutes, which is how long the stories take (allowing for some quiet reflection periods). Maybe when she is four or five, she will appreciate the meditation and partake better!
“I would recommend to parents who are finding it hard to settle children at night, particularly after a stressful day at school or at other anxious times. I am sure older children will react well too: who doesn’t love some quiet reflection at night, and some precious, relaxing time with a loved one?
“Our six-year-old now looks forward to the meditation and loves putting on an eye mask while she listens. She is left feeling calm, content and loving and we always finish with a goodnight cuddle before she drifts off completely. As for our toddler – well I’m still working on it!