Turns out that letting a 3-year-old watch The Simpsons Halloween Special gives them nightmares. Doh.
Our daughter cried out around 4am and I went in to find her literally trembling. A few questions later and it was clear that letting her watch a cartoon about ghouls and vampires wasn't clever.
Fortunately, something I'd recently learned popped into my half-asleep and very guilty mind, and 5 minutes later I'd given my daughter her first lesson in mind management and she was sound asleep.
Changing the channel
Think of your mind as a TV with many channels (not my analogy but I love it).
However, often your mind chooses the TV show and it's lousy - but you can change it.
This pulls together the basics of meditation:
- Notice that the show you're currently tuned in to is unhelpful.
- Pause it - take a step back. Don't fight it, but realise that you don't need to watch it.
- Zoom out - see the bigger picture. There's much more going on in your consciousness; you can't erase this channel, but you don't need to focus on it.
- Switch channels to something more helpful, healthy or enjoyable.
I simply asked our daughter what her favourite things were and told her to think about these instead when she closed her eyes. It sounds ridiculously simple but it works for me too - once I'd gotten over the hurdle of recognising when things were going south. I'm naturally on the stroppy side unfortunately, but this is helping me become less so - and I like it.