Following on from the article on the Happiness Course, I thought it important to explore this topic further. Mental health, relaxation and meditation, they are all tools to help us navigate busy stressful lives. So much happiness can come from having a good nights sleep, and also in knowing how to manage your thoughts and feelings. Mindfulness then, is a great way for us to learn how to separate thoughts from feelings, teach ourselves some new tricks. But what if, we started this process at the beginning, when we are children. What if, we were taught the tools we needed to understand our thoughts and feelings. What if, we created a generation of children, fully equipped withy the tools needed for a healthy state of mind. I really believe the results would be staggering when it comes to their later years in life. Perhaps, this is how we start to combat the global anxiety epidemic.
When The Children’s Meditations In My Heart landed on my desk at LLHQ, I was blown away by how beautiful the writing was. To the point of being envious that it is a book aimed at children. The words soothed, relaxed and overall made you feel safe and warm inside. I was very excited to interview the author to find out more about this revolutionary way of bedtime story reading.
1. What was your main inspiration for the book?
In 2013 I ghost wrote a book on stress in students. I was shocked by the large numbers of children and adolescents in Denmark, a seemingly happy nation, affected by stress. I looked at my own children aged 3 and 6 and started reflecting on what they might need to be able to deal with – and thrive – as children growing up in The Digital Age. I have always had a deep interest in personal development and am trained in healing, meditation, coaching and mindfulness. Becoming a mother made me reflect a lot on the kind of mother I wanted to be. Motherhood comes with so many challenges and I quickly learned that my energy affected my kids both negatively and positively. When I saw the profound effect consciously sharing my heart’s energies with my children, through meditation at bedtime, had on them, it was clear I had to write my book. My passion was and is to teach parents about heart energy and the power of the heart, so they in turn can spread love to their children, and teach them about the importance of self-acceptance and love. I honestly believe it would make a profound difference in the world if the next generation grow up fully aware of and in tune with their inner beauty and the power of their hearts.
2. Having used meditation in my own life, I’ve always wished I had started it sooner, your book is an excellent way to introduce children to the prospect, in the hope it helps them later in life. How have you found, in your own experience, the benefits of meditation with children?
The difference I’m told my book has made has completely blown me away. It turns out that a present, loving, calm parent together with meditation techniques can work wonders when it comes to bedtime. I have received so many beautiful letters from parents from all over the world telling me that their children used to struggle for 2-3 hours to fall asleep and with my book their children are now asleep within 15 minutes. Sleep is so important for children. Many things become much easier when children get their sleep – that goes for adults as well by the way.
Also the response from parents of children with special needs or challenges arising from adoption, ADHD, autism, anxiety, death in the families to stress, has been overwhelming. And I am so grateful my book has helped and continues to help children from all over the world get to know the healing power of their hearts. That to me is so beautiful.
3. What advice would you give to mothers having trouble with getting their child to sleep?
In my experience, the most important thing is to tune into your own energy as a parent, and find a way to relax, and be calmer and more loving around bedtime. For many parents, this book is an automatic switch into a loving energy at bedtime – and that is where the magic happens. Many parents think their children are giving them a hard time at bedtime, however in my experience the case is often the other way around. And coming to understand how this works, is life- changing in the way we parent.
4. ‘The more love we fill in our hearts, the easier our dreams can come true.’ Such a lovely line from one of the meditations, it sounds like a wonderful journey that even I would like to go on. Could something like this work for adults?
When I first learned about heart meditation it was offered to adults. I have rewritten the meditations for children, in language and with imagery they can easily understand and relate to. However, the meditations are also very applicable to adults. I often hear from parents that their child’s wonderfully natural and unguarded response to the meditations, made them as parents, reflect on their own relationship with their hearts and self- love. And in this amazing way, the child becomes the teacher. I often think that our children come with great gifts for us to open. Their purity and strong belief in love is one of them.
As an adult, you can have your partner or a friend read it to you, or even your child if they can read. It is deliberately not recorded as I emphasise the importance of spending this special time together.
5. How do the Danes do bedtime routines differently?
In Denmark, we have a strong tradition of making bedtime very much about ‘hygge’. We spend quality time with our children and read to them at bedtime. However, we also see this slipping a bit as more and more parents become engulfed by busy and stressful routines.
6. This month we are talking all about Hygge, being Danish yourself, what tips could you share to help us Brits adopt this notion like the Danes?
Hygge is all about spending quality time together with friends and family. And reading these meditations is all about hygge at bedtime. Hygge in the afternoon is taking time out to just be together. Light some candles, get some lovely snacks out, share a cup of tea and talk about what happened during the day. Play cards or cardboard games. Spend time cooking together with the children. Go play in the snow (I know how you Brits love the snow). Go out in nature and spend time together. And most importantly share a loving vibe.
7. How would you describe your perfect Hygge night in?
Screens out, sleeves up, aprons on! I like to get the kids in the kitchen as early into the evening as possible and have them help out according to their age. Everyone needs to muck in! Show interest in the meal you are going to share by setting a lovely cosy table. Share the meal together while talking about what happened throughout the day. Let the kids play while you clean up and then get together around a shared family activity – a game, a good movie, crafting or the like. Get the kids to bed at their normal bedtime even at weekends and spend time together as a couple on the couch with a cup of tea, candle lights and a nice chat. My kind of Saturday ❤