Mamas, do you ever feel like you just can’t communicate with your little people? That they get frustrated at not being able to express their feelings and emotions, so everyone ends up getting super stressed, making the whole situation a million times worse? Yup, it’s a common story. Well here’s a story with a difference – one created by two very talented Dubai mamas whose company Holistic Healing 4 Children and passion for helping children through holistic means. Their beautiful book ‘My Magical Garden’ is aimed at helping our little ones take a breath, channel their emotions and tap into their imaginations, while giving adults a bit of a guide as to what might be going on in their children’s minds.
Intrigued? I was – and with my 5 year old constantly reverting to temper tantrums (serves me right for being so smug that the terrible 2’s had escaped our household), waking at night and generally being fairly impossible to communicate with, I was all in favour of trying to tap into that mind of his so I gave it a go.
The book is all about allowing children to build up their own magical garden by making choices of what they’d like to fill it with on each page. From types of trees to animals, family members to flowers – the book is filled with gorgeous illustrations from which to choose. My little boy was excited to try it and I pitched it as a new ‘game’ to play with mama and a special type of story. We took ourselves away to a quiet corner away from his siblings and any distractions to create his garden.
A cute introduction explains what the book is about: ‘Imagine you can make your own garden, one that you keep in your head, somewhere to go whenever you want…’ Frankly mamas, this sounds pretty perfect – my little boy was intrigued (and I wanted in too!). ‘You decide what happens in your garden and you choose who you want to invite. You can dance with the beautiful fairy or even have fun with the Knight. It’s somewhere to go when you’re happy and somewhere to go when you’re sad. You will always be safe in your garden, there is no room for anything bad.’
By this stage, we were both hooked and the adventure began. Mama read the beautifully poetic narrative that explains the choices on each page while my son picked out the various aspects of his garden – from the cloak he wanted to wear to the type of water feature he wanted in it, plus trees, flowers, magical friends and a whole heap of other stuff to fill it with. I wrote each of his choices down and when we were done, we looked them up in the appendix to see what they represented. At this point, I was terrified that I’d be faced with some harsh truth that my little boy’s choices were clearly the result of my terrible parenting but this wasn’t the case at all – instead we (or rather I, as he wasn’t’ interested in this bit at all), learned about how he might be feeling and what he might need to help him grow. I know it all sounds a little ‘way out there’, but I actually found it very calming simply because my usually fairly stressed little boy was able to sit and focus for a while and we enjoyed some very really lovely mama/son bonding time.
I’ve used the book with my other kids too – both of whom are a little young really but ADORE the pictures – but it’s been a huge hit with kiddo number 1 who loves making the choices throughout. I’ve learned that giving him the opportunity to choose in whatever scenario possible is massively helpful in making him feel more settled. The book comes with a guided visualisation CD that’s brilliant for the kids to listen to before going to bed, calming them and instilling feelings of safety and security. Apparently loads of children sleep MUCH better after using this as part of their nighttime routine so we’re giving that a go! There’s also a fab app that brings each illustration to life with sound and movement and allows kids to drag and drop into their virtual garden.
So the verdict mamas? My Magical Garden is a really lovely, holistic way to reconnect with your kids if they seem to be experiencing a ‘difficult’ phase or even if you just want to spend some time understanding what might be going on in their oh-so-active minds. My feisty five year old benefits hugely from the opportunity to sit with his mama from time to time and create an imaginary garden – and whatever the meaning might be – the time spent together is the most magical thing in the world.
To learn more about My Magical Garden or to enquire about holistic therapies for children, visit www.holistichealing4children.con or email Terri and Jacqui at firstname.lastname@example.org. To buy your own copy of My Magical Garden, head on over to Amazon or grab a copy at Kinokuniya or Barnes & Noble.
Featured image sourced via Pinterest