This article has been republished from the recommended resource http://www.kidspot.com.au.
My nine-year-old daughter is a lot of things; she’s compassionate, thoughtful, empathic and very loving. There’s a beautiful gentleness to her nature that I wouldn’t dream of changing.
Unfortunately, these qualities also lead her to ruminate about how things she’s said or done may have impacted people around her. This leads her to worry and feel anxious, particularly as she’s trying to fall asleep each night.
‘She will dredge up incidents at school from months or years prior’
She’s been doing this since she was around seven years old and will dredge up conversations with family or incidents at school from months or years prior, dwelling on what happened and wishing she could change them.
Last week she called out for me, 30 minutes after I’d kissed her goodnight.
As I sat beside her bed and stroked her hair, I thought she might have had a bad dream, or remembered something she had to do at school the next day. Instead, she’d been lying there awake, worrying about a facial expression I’d made two weeks prior.
“Remember on Sunday morning two weeks ago when you asked if I’d come with you to the shops and I didn’t want to?” she asked.
“Well, you made a kind of frowny face and I’m worried that you were upset that you had to go the shops without me. I’m sorry, mum.”
Of course, I reassured her that I didn’t feel upset at all and that it’s not her job to worry about grown-ups’ feelings. In reality, I could barely recall the conversation, let whether I actually made the alleged ‘frowny face’.
I’ve struggled at times to help her through her anxious feelings and constant worry. I’ve been careful not to completely dismiss her, but this is easier said than done when it’s well past her bedtime and I’m tired too.
A simple app was the answer!
After chatting with a colleague recently about my daughter’s anxiety, she suggested that I try meditation to help her. I was dubious that it could make any difference, but after downloading a meditation app called The Smiling Mind I’ve realised that it can have an incredible impact.
We’ve now incorporated a short meditation into her bedtime routine each night. Together we listen to a 3 – 9 minute meditation on her bed, which relaxes her (and me!) and calms her mind as she’s preparing to fall asleep.
The simple, age appropriate meditations focus on relaxing visualisations, belly breathing and staying in the moment to calm our busy thoughts.
‘I wish I’d tried this with her years ago!’
Since we’ve started this new bedtime routine she looks forward to going to bed. She’s now able to fall asleep quickly and without calling out to me to talk about any feelings and thoughts that had been making her anxious. I just wish I’d tried this with her years ago!
Nightly meditation is now a special little ritual that’s shared just between the two of us, which means the world to my sensitive and loving little girl.
There’s a lot to be said for having mummy all to herself and taking the time to calm her mind.