Teaching mindfulness meditation for kids is easier than you may think. Children are natural meditators. That may seem contradictory to their high energy, but they are intensely connected to the world around them. The present moment is quite often what they are focused on.
It is much easier to teaching kids to meditate than adults. Children tend to be more open to new experiences and trying new things more than adults. Teaching them can take a bit of patience but with practice, meditation can be an enjoyable part of the day for both of you. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Practice A Simple Meditation Method
When teaching younger children, try having them cup their hands in front of their chest, take a deep breath in and then exhale into their hands as if they are filling them up with water, like a fountain. This act will give them a point of focus as they breathe, allowing them to relax into the meditation.
My youngest son and I like take a deep breath in and exhale by pretending to blow out a candle on a birthday cake. It's so calming.
Tools To Help With Meditation
Older children may do better at closing their eyes and thinking of a simple beginning mantra to focus their thoughts. They can also say it out loud so they can feel the vibration in their chest.
My sons enjoy choosing a Peacemakers card and thinking about the phrase while we sit quietly together. They often carry around or refer to the card throughout the day.
Apps like Calm play soothing background sounds and allow you to set a timer while you meditate so your kids know how much longer they have.
Show Your Child How To Meditate
If you want your children to start meditating, meditate with them. Show them how enjoyable it can be, here's a meditation exercise for you to try. And teach them about the wonderful benefits of meditation, a few of them are:
- to develop sticktoitiveness
- to learn how to focus
- to destress and calm down
- to practice ways to manage big feelings
Kids tend to have a short attention span so keep the meditation short. A good rule of thumb is to have them meditate one minute for every year of their age. Have them sit with you and show them how to relax into it.
Give Them Permission To Be Kids
Children experience deep thoughts and emotions frequently, even when they seem to be restless and unfocused. They don’t have to sit for a long time to benefit from meditation so praise them for whatever time they can spend meditating. If they can’t sit still, let them walk around the room quietly while they practice breathing deeply.
Teach Your Child How To Stay Calm
When your child is hurt or upset, teach them a simple affirmation while breathing deeply to relax. The most common response we have to seeing our kids hurt is to ask, “What happened?”
This phrase has an unintended result because it focuses your child on what hurt them instead of what heals them.
Try to focus on giving them emotional support. Hold them close and get them to repeat a simple affirmation like “I am brave” or “I am okay”.
Once they calm down, remind them to breathe like they do during meditation. Be an example and show them how to breath deeply. When my son's ‘engine is running high' we practice breathing in deeply and blowing away our anger while saying, “I am calm”.
Make Daily Meditation Part Of Your Family Routine
Children thrive on structure and routine. Their bodies tend to fall into a natural rhythm. Create an expectation that everyone meditates together at a certain time every day and for a certain amount of time. Choose a time that works for your family; in the morning before school or maybe just before bed.
It won’t take long for your whole family to start to feel the benefits of meditation.
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