Meditation For Children

Some simple meditation techniques that can be used for children.

We live in a very fast-paced society wherein our time is valued only for how much we can do or produce during it. Rarely do we take a moment or two to seriously unwind or properly relax and in this way we have served as role models to our children. It is not surprising, therefore, that most of them are in a variety of extra-curricular activities and sports (i.e. swimming, skating, scouts, ballet, etc.) "" and so much so that after homework or dinner is through few have time to really catch their breath before it is time for bed. That is not to say that children do not benefit from such activities, for surely they do. The point is merely that we have in some cases overwhelmed our kids with so many new and different endeavors that they have not had the opportunity to learn how to repose. Contrary to our society's energetic values, rest and meditation can actually create a renewed sense of motivation and well-being. Moreover, it allows a person to turn inwards, become acquainted with oneself, and ultimately become at peace with oneself. Beyond the hustle and bustle of daily life, is that not what we would want for our children? Peace of mind and self-trust?

Teaching your child to meditate basically involves helping them learn how to connect with their inner-self, including their imagination and the real essence of who they are. Although meditation for some may signify the very still, closed-eyed, and cross-legged pose, it does not have to mean that for our children. In fact, it simply involves giving children the time to be creative, to practice listening and to be carefree. It is easy to teach and may also be beneficial for parents who include themselves in the practice. At the very least, finding time to relax can reduce anxiety and increase one's ability to problem-solve. Sometimes just focusing attention on a different task permits new and fresh ideas to present themselves. Meditation can also help an angry or frustrated child to calm down and rethink a situation.

The first step in teaching children how to relax and meditate consists of having them sit or lay down in a comfortable place and position. Secondly, have them take one or two very deep breaths and have them close their eyes if they feel comfortable enough doing so (Should you not be at home and you find that your child is misbehaving or becoming overly active, sometimes simply having them concentrate on their breathing may successfully calm them down a little). Afterwards, there are a variety of different techniques that can be useful in guiding a relaxation mode. Older children may simply want time to themselves to quietly rest or think privately. For other children, some continuous deep breathing may be sufficient. Here are a few other suggestions for incorporation some quiet, meditative time into your child's life.



1. USE MENTAL IMAGERY

Have your child imagine that he or she is limp like a rag doll, with each part of his body (legs, arms, head. . .) feeling more and more like jelly. Or else have them imagine the waves of a pool or an ocean. Have them allow their body to feel the water caress their arms and legs, and finally flow right through them. Perhaps they will enjoy a friendly visit from a dolphin, starfish, or some colorful tropical fish. Have them imagine a conversation wherein the creatures have relaxing words and perhaps even a sacred message. Let them choose the color of the water, the sand and the fish. Imagination, and not reality, is key in this situation. There are many different places that their thoughts may take them (maybe to the park, or on a favorite walk). Sometimes you may want to talk and decide where to have your minds take you and other times leave it up to your child. If your child's idea is to imagine a treasure hunt or a birthday party, that is also acceptable. The thoughts can be adventurous and exciting and do not always have to be slow or subdued. The intent is simply to have them create a separate, but safe and lighthearted mental environment in which to sometimes get away.

2. USE POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS

You and your child may want to make a list of positive thoughts and phrases that he or she can repeat to herself when meditating. Another option is to record you or your child saying such phrases on a tape that can be played back during relaxation time. Having your child simply listen to the positive statements can be very uplifting and heartwarming. The statements can include sentences such as,

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