What age are these meditation stories aimed at?
Ideally these stories could be read to children from 3 years to 10 years. The themes, and the Parental Pauses relate to children who are preschool and school age who are becoming social beings and understand basic English. The meditation can be aimed for any child who can follow basic instructions especially the bed time routine and indeed helps children learn to wind down and go inward which helps develop early meditation practice. If the guided meditation doesn’t seem to work for your child he or she will still be listening to the story and imagining themself in the magical garden, and also preparing for the next attempt at meditation.
How would you advise parents and care givers to approach this time with their child?
Unfortunately a stressed out child will sometimes cause the mum, dad or the caregiver to be stressed. And this at times will be hard, but trying to speak slowly, softly with longer than normal pauses will help create an unrushed experience. Acknowledging that any new routine or skill (as a story teller and with meditation) there may be hiccup’s. My advice would be to follow some examples of relaxation techniques on my website. You know your child well so you could develop your own relaxation techniques or adapt to what works better with your child. See this time as important to get the most out of the story and where possible incorporate the parental pauses. Above all listen to your child try and understand what’s behind emotionally charged behaviour and notice when anxiety is creeping in, and how their day has influenced them later. Remember these stories and meditations are valuable tools to use. With time your child will be begging you for their Guardian Angel Story and will be looking forward to this special time.
What happens if my child falls asleep?
For me, with my children, getting them to sleep was my ultimate goal but do not think that the time or the meditation has been wasted. Each of my children visualised their magical garden differently and remember different things from each story. The story can be repeated and read the next night and if pressed as to what happened you can always read as a story and not include the meditation.
Can I read the same story over again?
The story can be reread over and over again but is my intention to follow with the rest of the series in short succession. You might like to make up your own story on the spot (this is what I did). You can even ask your child to make up a story in their special garden, this can encourage the imaginative process. You can follow me on face book, twitter and read my latest news to know the themes of the stories to follow.
What are these “Parental Pauses” for, and do I need to incorporate them?
My advice is to read the foundation story Star-keeper’s Quest fully through well before the first meditation experience, this will help you know what to suggest when these arise and indeed if needed at all. You can refer to page vii for Parental Insights and Pauses for ‘Coming Home’ & ‘Rescuing Starbit.’ Parental Pauses are guides only and it is for you to decide how they can help your child.
What do I do if my child interrupts me during the meditation?
Sometimes a highly creative child will interrupt the story to guide his/her interpretation and verbalise what they see in their mind, this is not a bad thing. Slowly restart at the same spot and if your child doesn’t settle you can try going back to relaxation techniques and the meditation.
Can these stories be read to more than one child?
Yes this process works very well with more than one child and it was my intention that schools, childcare centres library groups, alike would benefit greatly. Meditation should be a lifelong vocation, and yes there any many form of mindfulness and meditation but research is showing there are lifelong benefits to not only our mental health but our physical health as well.
I have no experience in meditation, can I get the most out of these stories or should I leave it to the experts?
As a member of the Meditation Association of Australia and having a background in education and nursing I am acutely aware of doing no harm to the evolving mind of a child. I have created stories that have a sound psychological basis and have had them reviewed by a Doctor of Psychology and have adhered to the mission statement of the Meditation Association of Australia and believe that meditation as an integral part of life. My intention is for your child to have beautiful memories of this time with you and they will remember the stories long after their childhood has gone and enjoy them with their children.
I will be posting sessions as needed so stay tuned to where and when.
Please remember to contact Meredith below with any further questions you might like answered.