Is your child afraid of the dark? Michelle Cohen has designed a simple yet effective protocol based on decades of experience working with concerned families whose children suffer from unexplained terrors. Actually, There is Something Under the Bed is her book created to empower children and parents alike. Through easy to follow and fun exercises, the family learns together that they have more command than they realized in any creepy circumstance. Michelle emphasizes that it doesn’t matter if what scares children is real or imagined; the bottom line is—something is causing fear, so tackle that. In this three-part series featuring excerpts from the book, Michelle explains how to help a frightened child share his or her experience, along with several constructive ways to find power and control over the situation. Then she shares how children as well as adults can get rid of any unwanted energy in their environment.
How to Handle Fear
These are some things you and your child can do before turning out the lights. Please note that they can also be taught and practiced during the day and then simply reinforced before going to sleep.
First and foremost, everybody breathe. Breathe deeply.
Breathe to the bottom of your toes and up through your entire body until you really feel yourself INSIDE your body.
Use your five senses. Notice the clothes touching your skin. Feel the chair under your butt or pillow under your head. Get really present into the here and now.
See what is around you. Look at the window and just see the glass, the pretty scene outside, the way it is decorated. What color is the wall? What shade is it? How does the floor feel under your feet or the covers surrounding your body? Be really in the mindfulness of what is ACTUAL that you can relate to, see and touch. Listen to the sounds around you. Even if it is quiet, what does that sound like? Touch your arms, feel your fingers. Sniff, use your nose, what do you smell like right now? Doing this puts everybody in the actual room in that actual moment. There is no past or future, only now. And right now, everyone is safe, and secure and ready for a great night of sleep.
Next, your child gets to create a “power stance.” This is a movement or a pose that automatically triggers your child into a feeling of joy, fullness and empowerment. Some people feel better when they are moving, others feel more confident in stillness, so which “power stance” works best is up to the individual.
If he decides he wants to pose, then have him find a way of positioning his body that feels incredibly alive, strong and forceful. It could be like how Superman stands with hands on his hips, or the way martial artists place their hands in front of them. It could be in a prayer pose or by flexing muscles or placing arms and hands in front of his body indicating STOP, don’t come any closer.
If she decides she wants to create movement instead, it could be a special dance routine, or fists pumping in the air, or a cheerleader move. It could simply be arms swooshing around to create a safe energetic bubble around her or her whole body can take part with jumping up and down.
Once your child makes a choice on the symbolic “power stance,” start filling up this stance with the most joyous, happiest, giggliest, fun, strong, confident emotions imaginable.
There may have to be a tickle festival to get there, but whatever makes your child grin from ear to ear is what should be associated with this move or pose.
Now the imprint has taken place and this physical move or pose is available, enabling her to take charge of her emotions in any moment. Do let her know that if for whatever reason, the terror gets so strong that she is suddenly, literally rigid with fear, she can always just picture herself in that pose and it will flood her with those emotions from wherever she is. Basically, she can’t fail in accessing these higher feeling vibrations whether she embodies it or visualizes it.
In fact, just picturing her stance is a fun thing to practice in her mind when she is in bed. This way she gets really good at it and knows that at any moment, she can access this symbolic gesture knowing it will keep her in possession of her emotional state.
Finally, just before going to sleep, have your child place his hand over his heart and feel it beating. Feel and express the love that is in there. It could be things he is thankful for or what fun things happened in the day or what he is looking forward to tomorrow. Whatever brings happiness, peace and calm. Or just count out everyone he loves. “I love mom, I love dad, I love my teacher, I love me…”
Going to sleep from this higher level of awareness is a great practice in general and probably more restful than going to bed in fear or with worries.
Next month: Part 3 – How Something Feels Wrong
Actually, There is Something Under the Bed is available on Amazon
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
MICHELLE COHEN is a multi-faceted producer/writer/director and a deeply skilled intuitive who connects her diverse talents using a fully-toned funny bone. Her work has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, MTV, NPR, and in People, Entertainment Weekly, and the Washington Post. Michelle produced the off–Broadway megahit, Schoolhouse Rock Live!, an adaptation of the ABC Emmy Award-winning cartoon, and her published books include Actually, There is Something Under the Bed, Of Course You Can Sing! and MenOpop (A Menopause Pop-up and Activity Book). She also has created The Intuition Tool Kit an online program for discovering and honing your internal guidance system. Michelle is also the ‘voice of nursery rhymes’ in Japan, having designed an online program bonding Japanese mothers with their children through creative, imaginative interpretations of English language stories. Michelle has worked extensively as a vocal coach, serving as an adjunct faculty member at several acting schools, including NYU. Most recently she was invited to be a guest speaker for UCLA’s MFA Acting Program. In her career as an intuitive, Michelle Michelle helps her clients discover quality choices that set them on their unique and personal path. www.michellecohenprojects.com