Dr. Willard has been practicing meditation for over 20 years, and teaching for almost as long. His thoughts on mental health have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, mindful.org, cnn.com, and elsewhere.

Mindfulness for Kids 12: Watching Your Child Sleep

with Dr. Christopher Willard & Hunter Clarke-Fields

Join Hunter Clarke-Fields and Dr. Christopher Willard in this special series of mindfulness practices for kids! Mindfulness offers kids a powerful tool for managing the pressures of school, peer relationships, and the increasing digital distractions, ultimately promoting their overall emotional intelligence and promoting a healthier, more balanced approach to life. 

[Mindfulness For Kids 12] Watching Your Child Sleep

Read the Transcript 🡮

*This is an auto-generated transcript*

[00:00:00] Hunter: You're listening to a Mindfulness for Kids episode of the Mindful Parenting Podcast. Today is a special episode for parents called Watching Your Child Sleep.

Welcome to the Mindful Parenting Podcast. Here it's about becoming a less irritable, more joyful parent or kid. I'm your host, Hunter Clarkfields. I help smart. Thoughtful parents stay calm so they can have strong connected relationships with their children. I'm the creator of the Mindful Parenting course and I'm the author of the best selling book Raising Good Humans and Now Raising Good Humans Every Day.

I'm joined by Dr. Christopher Willard, clinical psychologist, author, and dad. He's the author of 20 books including Alpha Breaths and Growing Up Mindful. Both of us have been practicing mindfulness for over 20 years and we are so excited to share the benefits with you.

Well, welcome, Chris. I'm happy to see you again today.

[00:01:03] Dr Chris WIllard: Happy to see you as always, Hunter, and so happy to hear your voice. And, um, yeah, thanks for having me back

[00:01:10] Hunter: again. Well, I'm so excited for this Mindfulness for Kids episode. We're shaking things up a little bit because we know There have been some parents listening in, and we want to give something to them too,

[00:01:23] Dr Chris WIllard: right?

Yeah, I, you know, this is something that I kind of played with creating when, when my kid was, um, zero years old. He's now nine, amazingly enough. We all know how fast these years seem to fly by. Um, but it's actually nice to reconnect with this one. I'm going to, I'm going to try this to myself tonight, but it's.

The Sleeping Child Meditation. So, it's a bit of an equanimity practice for us parents, um, and so, should we kick it

[00:01:51] Hunter: off? Let's do

[00:01:53] Dr Chris WIllard: it. Yes. All right. So this is one to try when your kids are asleep or falling asleep, and I know that can, that can take a while sometimes for some of us, depending on the age, but let's, uh, either imagine we're with our child sleeping or carry this.

With us, as we watch our child sleeping, we can begin with just a few breaths,

and using those breaths to make contact with the moment,

to allow our own bodies to relax,

and gradually allowing your gaze to soften as you take in this image of your child, maybe a Photograph that you have, or a picture of them right there, in this moment, will be your anchor for this practice.

And just studying them with that love, compassion, curiosity as you watch it, feel it even just naturally arising from your heart, falling up like a spring,

as well as noticing any other ambivalence too, it's not always perfect.

And taking in their physical form, their movement, their breath,

perhaps aware of being able to see their pulse, their heart beating,

and then shifting from watching your child toward watching yourself, watching whatever arises, emotions, reactions, this moment, all of them, those guests from beyond, guest house,

what's here in this moment, love, pride, resentment,

frustration, Gratitude, sleepiness, noticing the emotions that arise, just naming them one by one,

tracking those little moments of anxiety while they wake up,

for those bits of relief as they drift back into sleep,

those moments of fear, what will this world be, those moments of hope,

whatever it is, just allow it to rise and allow it to pass.

If your mind runs to the past, just Noticing where it's gone.

Watch those thoughts as they arise, linger, and move onward.

Thoughts and feelings about the future, too.

For them, for their world, for your family.

Watching those rise, linger, and move onward.

Aware of all those joys and sorrows that you've shared and you will share.

Laughter and the tears.

Pride, the shame.

Aware of all those that will arise. Every day, whether you're physically together or not, wear whatever it is that comes to mind as you just watch,

perhaps offering some kind wishes, loving kindness to your child,

some equanimity for the both of you,

and sending out those reminders to your child and yourself.

You will be eventually the author of your own life.

Eventually, you'll be the author of many of your own joys and sorrows, your relationship with the world.

If you already are your own person,

I'll be here for you, I'll be here with you, always.

Your choices will become yours.

Wish the best for you, be

here for all the B minuses and broken hearts,

for everything that you experience.

I'll be here in the foreground or background,

and may you be happy, may you be safe, and

you know that you are.

Taking a few more moments just to breathe this image of your child, and

offering yourself some compassion if you need it in this moment, maybe a hand on your heart, and

just raising your eyes now, wiggling your toes, coming back to the world around you, your own world,

and back to your day.

[00:09:54] Hunter: Thank you, Chris. That was beautiful. I think that I will enjoy this practice and I think that many listeners will enjoy this, this lovely practice today. What a gift.

[00:10:08] Dr Chris WIllard: I hope so. Well, thank you again for having me. And, um, yeah, thank you for all being great parents out there.

[00:10:15] Hunter: Yeah. Rock

[00:10:16] Dr Chris WIllard: on.

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