Life is busy as a mom, business owner, and wife. In the midst of it all, I have realized that if I don’t set aside time for meditation and mindfulness, my stress levels will continue to increase. While there are many ways to meditate and be mindful, I have found that mindfulness and meditation for children is just as important to my kids as it is to me.
Here are some of my tips for getting started with mindfulness and meditation for children.
Meditation for Children
There are many different meditation techniques that can be used for children. The most important thing is to find a method that works for them. Some children prefer to sit still and focus on their breath, while others may prefer to move around and use props such as stones or feathers. It is also important to make sure that the meditation is age-appropriate.
Here are some tips for teaching meditation for children:
1. Start with a short meditation session. You can gradually increase the length of the meditation as your child gets more comfortable with it.
2. Make sure to create a relaxed and comfortable environment. This may include dimming the lights, playing calming music, or burning incense.
3. Try to be a good role model by being mindful of yourself. This will help your child to see meditation as a positive and beneficial practice.
4. Be patient and don’t expect perfection. Meditation is a journey, not a destination. Just let your child explore and experiment.
With a little bit of patience and practice, you will be able to teach meditation to children in a way that is fun and beneficial for them.
Breathing Practices for Teaching Children About Mindfulness
Children are more likely to respond to physical activity. For teaching mindfulness, a good starting point is to lay on your back with a stuffed animal on your belly. As they relax and take deep breaths, have them focus on the fall and rise of the animal and how their breath fills them and releases them. Breathing exercises are stress relievers and will give you both a spiritual, grounded feeling.
Yoga for Teaching Children About Mindfulness
Yoga and mindfulness often go hand in hand and are a great way to get kids involved. Start by teaching your child one or two animal or nature-based poses to help them when they’re feeling frustrated, i.e. perching like a wise owl when they don’t know what to do, or a strong, steady mountain when they are uneasy or frustrated. Just having a go-to pose to calm down and take a minute to themselves is a way to let them express how they are feeling and understand how to process it.
According to John Gottman of Gottman institute, children are happier when you let them express their feelings and they are validated. So, teach them so helpful poses, and when you see them take them and use them as code to help them through their feelings when they are ready to talk.
Model Mindfulness for Children
Perhaps the most important way to teach children anything is to lead by example. Set an atmosphere in your home and family of mindfulness, positivity, and self-care. Let your child in on your own routine, and let them be your motivation. The unfiltered honesty of a child can be a great motivator: explain what your own goals are and let them be your motivator or accountability coach. Children are often our very best reminder in life to slow down and be present- using this to your advantage will be a lifelong reminder to your child of the importance of mindfulness.
Just a few implementations of these fun ideas a week are more than enough to get started with teaching children mindfulness. Never underestimate the emotional needs and stressors your child has on a daily basis. An early start will send them into adulthood with a unique skill. Making mindfulness a family practice will make your family closer and more understanding, and help your children to blossom into well-rounded adults.