Meditation isn't just for adults. With the proper approach, your child can learn to meditate at an early age and gain tools for reflection, calming, and coping with stressful situations. Try these 10 ideas to get started.
We all want to live stress-free lives, and children are no exception. Childhood meditation can improve inner peace, concentration, and confidence.
However, meditating with your children on a regular basis can be difficult if you do not apply variation. A child’s mind is discovering what it likes or doesn’t like. Although I do recommend meditating at approximately the same time each day, a new activity holds a child’s excitement. You know your child better than anyone, so begin with a practice you believe they would enjoy the most. I have included a few ways to incorporate technology into a mindfulness practice—these tips are for the children who are technologically minded or live in climates that experience extreme cold, where outside time is limited.
Cell Phone Timer
Allow the child to set the timer on your phone. He or she should meditate for one minute for each year of their age. For example, set the timer for three minutes for a 3-year-old. Ask the child if they would like to play a game on your phone when the alarm sounds. Be sure to ask this with excitement! When they reply yes, tell them the only rule is to be quiet until they hear the phone.
Close your eyes as you sit with them. This encourages the child to do the same without adding another rule or demand. If they choose to leave their eyes open this is okay too. This meditation is only to encourage stillness.
Coloring is one form of active meditation. The movement in coloring is slow, focused, and provides enough concentration to reduce random thoughts outside of the project at hand.
If your child wants to talk a lot during color time, reward them for their quiet time attempts. Reassure them you’re looking forward to hearing all about their creation once the quiet time ends.
Pay attention to the colors your child chooses. Do they tend to use the same two or three? A good discussion to incorporate into coloring meditation practice is how the colors align with the Chakras.
Viewing the Elements
Humans are naturally drawn to the elements that surround us. Our mind and body is constructed of these same elements, stimulating an authentic connection. Here are a few ideas to incorporate each element in your child’s life.
Fire: Build a backyard bonfire, use the indoor fireplace, or watch a lit candle. Staring at flames is a visual way to focus the mind.
Water: If outdoor water is not easily available add a small indoor fountain to your home, sit the child in the bathtub or bathroom and turn the shower on an easy flow watching and listening together, or have him or her sit calmly in a warm bath before beginning regular bath time rituals.
Earth: Dig up some worms just to watch them, observe the veins or growth of a plant, or lay on the ground in silence and ask the child to pretend to be an ant.
Air: Spend time in silence watching clouds, trees, and airplanes. You could try a game where the child pretends or imagines himself or herself as a silent drone.
Space: Explore the amazing visual stimulation of the night, and seek out planets, stars, and the moon. Have your child name the planet or constellation.
A kaleidoscope is a cylinder with mirrors containing loose, colored objects such as beads, pebbles, or bits of glass. The traditional kaleidoscope is turned manually, but in today’s age of technology you may also change your kaleidoscope experience by watching a video. Youtube offers such videos in various play times.
Tibetan Singing Bowl
Singing bowls are used for sound healing. These bowls are extremely relaxing to listen to or play. Encourage the child to take turns between the two of you playing, while the other listens. If you’re not sure how to play the bowl, ask where you make your purchase. You can also find tutorials online.
Floating in a Pool or Water
Floating in water can be meditative as well as turned into a game. Time your child, encouraging longer float times and relaxation. For your own downtime, ask the child to silently count as you float.
Guide your child in a relaxing adventure. Use the characters, visuals, and experiences you feel they would enjoy. This does not have to correlate with what adults are accustomed to. A child will stay interested in your voice much longer if you spin a tale about Spiderman, not water flowing. Remember to speak softly and slightly slower than you typically speak.
Check out the Chopra Center’s kids’ meditation app for guided meditations children will love.
Making a beaded necklace or bracelet is meditative and can also make the child feel accomplished. Give these pieces of beaded art away as gifts. This practice of creating and then giving teaches the child how to show love while practicing the universal Law of Giving and Receiving.
Choose a place in the home where it would be okay for a puzzle to stay out for a few days. The last thing we want is any stress around your various meditative techniques. A mom stressed about an unfinished puzzle on the kitchen table must be avoided.
If your child is new to puzzles start with a smaller and easier option. Not all children like puzzles; test it out before jumping into a large piece. If puzzles are enjoyed, this is a great way for the family to enjoy a movement meditation together.
If pets are a part of your family, set aside some time to pet them in silence. If you don’t own a pet, watch animals in nature, visit a petting zoo, or perhaps a family friend who has access to animals.
Explore different types of animal species. You may prefer dogs; this does not mean this is your child’s favorite. Volunteering at animal shelters or becoming an animal foster parent can be great options as well.
Enjoy exploring these meditation techniques. After each meditation session, try to discuss this experience with your child. Ask them what they saw, felt, and heard. Most importantly, don’t push or get frustrated. If they talk too much, that’s okay. If they’re not into the experience one day, that’s okay too.
If you make it feel like a chore, they will pull away. Instead, let them go at their pace. You should act as a guide only. Initiate conversation on the topic of meditation, and let them know that all of these activities are a form of the practice. Eventually, your child might use one of these meditative tools when he or she gets upset.
Ananda is the perfect app to get your kids interested in mindfulness and meditation. This customizable meditation app will allow you to experience mindfulness with your children in a creative way, bringing you closer together. Click here to learn more.