With many potential benefits of meditation, it's no wonder that many people nowadays are trying to get their youngsters involved with this ancient practice, hoping to instill some sense of peace, calm, and acknowledgement of the present moment. Here's what you can do to introduce your kids to meditation.
Explain What It Actually Means To Meditate - In Their Words
Trying to explain meditation to a kid isn't the easiest task in the world, but the method you use will vary depending on their age. Young kids need to be talked to in a way their brains will process information the best, so don't even bother with the historical meanings and big, abstract words. Come down to their level and use metaphors they can understand.
For example, if their little lives revolve around unicorns and magical kingdoms, try explaining meditation as a state the hero of their story needs to get to in order to experience the magical powers. Or if your kid is obsessed with superheroes, tell them meditation is what makes them superheroes in the first place.If your children are over 10 years old, you can start explaining it from a more serious perspective, as by now they're already learning about certain stuff in school and their minds are ready to process new and more complex information.
Still, it's important to gauge their reaction and see if you've managed to get through to them. Meditation is a complex concept that many adults find hard to grasp, so be patient with your kids and let them figure it out on their own, using your help.
Teach Them Simple Exercises
If you're looking to introduce meditation to your kids, it would be extremely beneficial if you were the one teaching them. That way, you'll be able to connect with them on a much deeper level and have an immense impact on their lives, always tying you together.You don't have to be a meditation teacher, expert, or even an avid practitioner. The only thing you have to do is get your kids to close their eyes and listen to their breath, teaching them to follow their inhales and exhales.
If you're still unsure how to do it, try this exercise:
Sit down cross-legged and invite your kids to do the same, sitting right in front of you. Close your eyes and tell them to do the same. Tell them to focus on their breath, listening to the sound they're making, and feeling their chest rise and fall. Let them place one hand on their belly and the other on their chest, and have them feel them move as they breathe.
Explain why their belly and chest move and how now they need to deepen their inhales and exhales to feel the movements get bigger, but tell them not to exaggerate. Take it slow and repeat as many times as you need, as your kids might not figure it out at the first try.You can also bring their attention to a specific sound, word, color, or feeling and let them give you feedback on how they're feeling and what they're imagining, seeing, and thinking about. Honest and real conversation is key, so keep on sharing your experience throughout the entire practice.
Expecting your kids to learn how to meditate and understand all about it from the get-go isn't something you should even consider, as it takes years to master, and even then, fully understanding it is almost a mission impossible.
Be patient with them and keep on teaching them valuable lessons and things they can draw from this ancient practice, making it a constant part of their routine and therefore, making it a part of their lives. staying consistent is what will get you there the quickest as kids need structure in order to learn how to organize their routine and separate it from their playtime.
It's really important to keep the stress away from meditation as that's exactly what you're trying to teach your kids to avoid. If you're getting frustrated with your kids being unable to keep their eyes closed or sit still, try doing it another time during the day or even postpone introducing them to meditation for a few months or years.
Not everyone will be able to sit down, close their eyes, and get into the rhythm of their breath without a fuss. Be mindful of that.
Connect Mindfulness and Meditation
Mindfulness is another important concept your kids need to grasp if you're trying to introduce them to meditation; and it might even be easier to explain. Use playful terms and games to get them to understand how to be aware of their daily actions and how to focus on each specific task at hand rather than trying to do five of them at the same time.
Try going through their morning routine: making their bed, brushing their teeth, eating breakfast, getting ready for school. Experience each activity with them and show them how to pay better attention to what they're doing and how to be more mindful of how they move their body, how they speak, and how they walk.
You can get as creative as you want, using words and terminology your kids are familiar with. Once they learn a bit about mindfulness, getting introduced to meditation will be a logical, and much easier second step.
Teaching your kids to sit still, close their eyes, and simply breathe has a ton of benefits, but starting out might not be the easiest thing in the world. Try out these tips and get your little ones close to experiencing zen from a very early age.