Samantha is Sharing tips on helping children learn to meditate and why it is important.
Children are natural meditators. They are intensely connected to the world around them. The present moment is the only thing they care about. It’s so much easier to teach kids to meditate than adults because they are open to new experiences and trying new things. Teaching them can take some patience though. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
5 Tips for Teaching Children to Meditate
1. Show them; don’t tell them. If you want your children to meditate, meditate with them. Show them how enjoyable it can be and teach them about the benefits. Kids have a short attention span so a good rule of thumb is to meditate with them one minute for every year of their age. So a 6-year- old will meditate for only six minutes. Let them sit with you for a few minutes and show them how to relax into it.
2. Practice a simple method that they enjoy. Meditation should be an enjoyable part of your day and theirs. For younger kids, try teaching them to cup their hands in front of their chest and exhale into their hands as if they are filling them up with water. It gives them something to focus on while they are exhaling, allowing them to relax into the meditation. Older children may enjoy closing their eyes and thinking a simple mantra like “om” to focus their thoughts. They may also enjoy saying it out loud and feeling the vibration in their chest. You may also like to try and app like Calm that plays soothing background sounds and allows you to meditate with a timer so your kids know exactly how much longer they have left.
3. Teach your child how to stay calm in stressful moments. Whenever your child gets hurt or upset, teach them a simple affirmation and breathing technique to relax them. The most common response to seeing our kids hurt is to say, “What happened?” This has an unintended result by focusing your child on what hurt them rather than what heals them. Instead, focus on giving them some emotional support. Hold them close and have them repeat a simple affirmation like “I am brave and I am okay.” Once they have calmed down, tell them to just take a few deep breaths like they do during meditation. Be an example by showing them the deep breathing you want them to do.
4. Allow them to just be kids. Children experience deep thoughts and feelings all the time, even when they seem to be fidgety unfocused. They can benefit from meditation even if they don’t sit a long time so praise them for the time that they do sit with you. If they have trouble sitting still, let them walk around the room quietly while they practice breathing deeply.
5. Make daily meditation time a part of your family routine. Children flourish on structure and routine. Their bodies fall into a natural rhythm. Make it a rule that at a certain time each day and for a certain amount of time, you slow down and meditate together as a family. Select a time that works well for your family; early morning before school or maybe just before bed. Figure out what works best for you.