No matter what your religion, this time of year is likely to include some type of celebration. And while we all have a great deal to celebrate, like you, I dream of a peaceful world. Envision a world where we don’t have to fear for our children’s safety, because each inhabitant on Earth reveres life.
While it may seem as if we’re not doing anything to contribute to world peace, by helping our children to discover and maintain inner peace, compassion, and acceptance, we are doing something very powerful, real, and important. Peace starts with each individual. Each child whose heart is filled with inner peace, compassion, and acceptance will grow up to become a beacon for peace on Earth, Goodwill to man.
Wishing you and your loved ones a joyous and peaceful holiday season.
Planting Seeds of Peace
During the busy holiday season, it’s especially important to help children to find peace within themselves. But if we want our children to have inner peace and to be relaxed and carefree, as parents, we need to look closely at ourselves. Children learn by example and they are deeply affected by our emotional states. When we are frantic and frustrated, we affect everyone around us, especially our children. Kids have the uncanny ability to see through “do as I say” and go straight to “do as I do.” And like adults, when children are restless, agitated, and frustrated, they are likely to behave in a quarrelsome, critical, irritable, and aggressive manner. Or they may express their inner discomfort with self-conscious, anxious behavior.
Help your children to develop an ‘inner calm’ by making your home a sanctuary from the overstimulation of the outside world. Have a quiet household at night, limiting television, computer, and video games. Make family ‘quiet time’ a part of every evening: read or tell stories, listen to soothing holiday music, or give each other a gentle massage. Teach your children relaxation skills such as stretching, deep breathing, and guided imagery. Relaxation can be a delightful form of play and it’s easy to incorporate the holidays in imaginative ways. For example, play a relaxing game of Santa Says. Direct children to stretch and relax by curling up like a snowball, to move their arms and legs slowly in and out like a snow angel, or to open their mouths widely to catch snowflakes.
Don’t over schedule your children and cut back on the tasks and activities that overwhelm them. For example, avoid long trips to the mall with young children; short spurts of shopping will be more fun for everyone. You may decide that you’d rather spend less time shopping, give fewer gifts, and participate in more activity based celebrations and activities that you can share with your child. For instance, spend time with children making cards, decorations, and cookies.
While routines are likely to be thrown off during the holidays, it’s
important to maintain a consistent bedtime, allowing plenty of time
for a relaxed bedtime routine.
Don’t let holiday parties or activities interfere with your child
getting a good night’s sleep.
Genuine compassion is a wish for the well-being of other people and for every living being in the universe. Again, as parents, we need to be role models for our children. Just as children pick up on our emotional states, they also emulate the way we treat others. When a waitress or a sales clerk takes a little longer than you’d like, your children will notice whether you are understanding, or demanding.
Compassion comes from a feeling of empathy—an ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and understand how they feel. Help children to realize that in the important ways, they are no different from other children all around the world—and that the Earth is home for all of us. You can cultivate empathy and compassion by telling your own stories about children in other parts of the world, emphasizing that they share the Earth with us and have the same feelings, fears, hopes, and dreams.
Encourage compassion and empathy by providing opportunities for your children to help others. Opportunities abound: have your child draw pictures and help you deliver food to a housebound friend, encourage them to donate some of their clothes, toys or books, or regularly visit an elderly person who needs companionship.
Choose holiday activities and celebrations that suit your child. Don’t try to change your child’s temperament; accept that he or she may be naturally timid and soft-spoken, or boisterous and loud. An activity level that might be comfortable for one child could be overwhelming for another—even within the same family. By accepting and respecting our children, we teach them to be non-judgmental and accepting of others.
Like our children, we have our own temperaments which will influence how we choose to celebrate the holidays. You may enjoy everything about the holiday season: parties, decking the halls and shopping may not be overwhelming to you. However, you may have a child or a spouse who prefers a quieter holiday season. By accepting and being sensitive to each individual family member, parents will be able to create a joyful holiday season for their entire family.
The Christmas Dream recording takes young listeners on a global journey with Santa; prayers from children around the world connect mankind with a string of pearls that are attached to the back of Santa’s sleigh.
The Floppy Sleep Game Book helps children to put their bodies and minds at ease—and discover inner peace. The visualizations include themes of compassion, acceptance, and reverence for Mother Earth.
The Dream Maker's December Dream Starters
Dream Starters are visualizations which promote relaxation, imagination and well-being as they guide children into the world of dreams.
To prepare for these dream starters, (or visualizations), create a quiet comfortable atmosphere in which your child can relax.
Step One ~ Progressive Relaxation (Tensing & Relaxing Muscle Groups)
Have your child tense each muscle group for at least 5 seconds before relaxing. (See the Santa Says Game (below), for a fun, seasonal progressive relaxation routine.)
Step Two ~ Focus on the breath
Have your child get very quiet and watch his own breath. (See the focusing on the breath section of the Santa Says progressive relaxation routine.)
Step Three ~ Creative Visualization
Now that your child is relaxed, read (or tell) one of the following visualizations…or make up your own.
Santa Says Game (Excerpt from the Christmas Dream CD)
(Progressive relaxation & focusing on the breath)
Modify the directions according to your beliefs as well as your child’s age and interests. Instead of Santa Says, you may wish to say Mother Earth Says, or simply Simon Says. Or, if your child is older, he may simply enjoy the movements without the directive.
Santa says be a sleepy reindeer and slowly, slowly, slowly lay down on your bed.
Santa says, lift your legs up towards the ceiling. Keep your legs as straight as icicles and point your toes. Point, point, point. Keep your legs straight up towards the ceiling and turn your toes towards your nose. Keep your legs straight. Hold, hold, (pause) now rest your legs back down by your side.
Santa’s elves can curl up in tiny balls, and you can too. Santa says, be very small. Curl up in a tiny ball, hold your head up to your knees and squeeze. Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze; now rest. Santa wants to see if you can be even smaller, smaller than the tiniest elf. (Repeat)
Reindeer are very kind. They’re especially kind to themselves. Santa’s reindeer give themselves great big hugs, and you can too. Santa says, give yourself a great big reindeer hug. Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze; now lay your hands back down by your side and rest. (Repeat)
It’s important for reindeer to be strong so they can pull the heavy sleigh full of toys. Blitzen shows Santa his strong muscles, and you can too. Santa says, show me your strong arm muscles. Make a muscle. Hold the muscle with your fists clenched. Hold it, hold it, hold it. Now open your hands and rest your arms back down by your side. (Repeat)
When reindeer wait on the rooftop, snow can get in their eyes and snowflakes can get in their mouths. Rudolph squeezes his eyes tightly shut to keep out the snow, and you can too. Santa says, squeeze your eyes tightly shut. Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze. Now, gently and softly close your eyes.
Santa says, keep your eyes shut and open your mouth wide to catch some snowflakes. Hold your mouth open wide. Hold it open. Hold it, hold it, hold it. Mmmm-mmmm. Now gently close your mouth and your eyes.
Reindeer are happy and show it by smiling and showing their teeth. The reindeer show Santa their pearly white teeth, and you can too. Santa says, smile for me now, I’m taking your picture. Hold it, hold it, hold it; now rest. Santa wants to take one more picture of you for Mrs. Claus. She wants a picture of you sleeping, to hang on the refrigerator. Santa says, keep your eyes closed and smile for Mrs. Claus. Smile, smile, smile; now rest.
Santa likes to let out a great big yawn and when Santa’s reindeer get sleepy, he likes to hear them yawn too. The reindeer yawn with Santa, and you can too. Santa says, take a big breath in and yawn out a great big sleepy yawn. Once again, yawn, yawn, yawn. Yawn until all your yawns are gone.
Focusing on the Breath:
Reindeer must be perfectly still and quiet so they don’t wake anyone when Santa delivers presents. Reindeer can be very, very quiet, and you can too. Santa says, be very quiet. Be as quiet and still as the newly fallen snow. Reindeer love the feeling of breathing in the cool night air.
Santa says, feel the air as you breathe in and out through
Santa says, once again, feel the air as your breathe in and
out through your nose.
Reindeer like to sleep, sleep, sleep. They enjoy dreaming about the Christmas Eve ride. Santa says, sleep and dream; sleep, sleep, sleep, and dream, dream, dream.
Visualization (Excerpt from The Christmas Dream recording)
Keep your eyes closed. Feel Santa tucking a warm soft blanket around you. He puts an arm around your shoulders and together you fly through the starry, starry sky. Santa looks up at the moon and waves.
The moon calls down to you and Santa:
You, Santa, and the reindeer fly higher and higher towards the moon’s light. The stars twinkle brightly, and the moon’s light is the biggest and brightest of all. Keep flying towards the moon. You’re almost there, just about ready to land. Santa’s sleigh lightly touches down on the moon. You’re showered with moonlight; the moonbeams warm every part of your body, from the tips of your toes to the top of your head. It’s so quiet and peaceful here that the reindeer close their eyes to take a short moon nap.
Get out of the sleigh and take a walk on the moon. Notice that the sky is filled with beautiful strings of silvery beads that float, dance and swirl through the sky. Look past the strings of pearls and see that the Earth looks like a beautiful blue ball. Watch the Earth and see that it spins as it slowly moves across the sky.
Feel love in your heart as you look at your home, the beautiful Earth. It’s time for you to go back. Santa needs to deliver his sleigh full of presents.
You are home now. The sleigh turns back into your bed. Santa says, “sleep now, sleep, sleep, sleep.” While you sleep and dream, Santa leaves your presents under the tree. The moon shines brightly while Santa flies back to the North Pole.
As you sleep, prayers fill the sky, connecting the Earth as they fly.
Have your child take a global flight with Santa. Before going back home, on The Christmas Dream recording children fly over mountains, across seas, and from country to country. They see and hear children from many lands, who are gazing up at the moon and giving thanks.
Thanks for the moon when day is done, shining ’round the
world on everyone.
Each prayer becomes a pearl that is attached to a string, floating behind Santa’s sleigh.
The prayer of the little girl, becomes a lovely little pearl.
Pearls from the countries join the thread, connecting the world,
the sky and the sled.