In the past, mindfulness and meditation were mainly viewed as a beneficial coping strategy for adults. Nowadays, there is an increasing interest in teaching children these methods to help them relax, relieve stress, and improve focus. Children are not immune to the problems that we often associate with adulthood. Teaching kids the simple act of meditation may seem daunting, especially if you don’t practice it yourself on a consistent basis. These 6 Ways To Teach Meditation To Kids are simple, effective strategies that are beneficial for everyone to adopt in their lives.
1. Practice Breathing
We carry our breath with us wherever we go, whatever we do, in every moment of our lives. In terms of mindfulness, it is essentially the anchor that helps us focus on the moment rather than the past or future. Learning how to breathe properly and value living in the moment can be learned by children as well. For them, the simple concept of noticing their breath and how their chest rises and falls can help them relax and focus on the present moment.
2. Be Patient
The reality is that children don’t always respond or behave exactly how we would like them to, and meditation is no different. Adults who cannot push their thoughts and distractions aside have a difficult time with meditation, so imagine free-spirited, active children. It’s important to be patient with them, giving them gentle reminders on how to sit still, focus on a spot in front of them, or telling them to imagine a special place in their thoughts with their eyes closed. It may take a while to get there but the end result will be so rewarding for both children and adults.
3. Practice What You Preach
As parents we often tell our children what to do or what to say, without in fact showing them what to do by modelling ideal behaviour or choosing our words mindfully. When it comes to meditation, we can tell them what to do until we’re blue in the face, but children will react in a more positive way if a parent meditates with them. Sharing this practice together will make it a more enjoyable experience for everyone.
4. Create a Meditation Space
Set aside a specific area for your kids to meditate, wether it be the corner of a room, or another quiet space in the house. Make it a fun project by decorating it together – hang their artwork, choose their favourite blankets, stuffed animals, or other items to arrange. The idea is that by allowing your child to individualize their own space they will feel more comfortable and willing to participate in meditation activities.
5. Create a Mindful Bedtime Routine
Meditation is a great way to get kids to wind down after a long day. An ideal bedtime routine can include mindfulness books, easy kid-friendly yoga sequences, quick body scans where you guide your child in bringing attention to parts of the body as they breathe deeply with their eyes closed, etc. Any of these options are conducive to relaxing your child and calming them down before they turn in.
6. Practice Gratitude
Being grateful is a fundamental component of mindfulness. Children are constantly overstimulated by technology, toys, and even parents. It is so important to stop and help them focus on appreciating the abundance in their lives, reminding them at the same time how to slow down and be in the moment. Focusing on what makes you both joyful and grateful is a wonderful way to spend quality time together. In this case, it’s quality over quantity!