Teaching children to meditate and care for their mind, body, and soul not only helps them become more attuned to themselves, but also enables them to excel in life.
And, much like most basic activities in life, this also needs an early start.
But explaining meditation to a child may be an initial challenge. Especially given that their average attention span ranges between three and six minutes. So the best way forward is to establish a healthy routine.
Let us take you through simple methods of doing it and how you can make this holistic practice interesting for your child.
Explaining Meditation To A Child Is Easy If You Keep It Simple
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Ideally, meditation would require a child to sit through at least the recommended meditation time of 15 to 45 minutes per day. But that is not possible if your child is only just starting out.
So the best way to get your child into the habit is by keeping it simple and starting slow. Encourage them to try meditating for anytime upto five minutes.
This will build a foundation and you can increase the time as you progress.
One thing to remember here is to always lead by example. If you instruct your child to close their eyes and clock their breathing but leave the room yourself that will can possibly keep them distracted.
Ensure that you are around and meditate with your child. This will not only help you both reduce anxiety, sleep better, increase your focus, improve self-esteem, and reduce stress levels; it will also help you bond.
So what is the best way to meditate especially with your child?
What Is The Best Method Of Meditation, According To Experts
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The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health says meditation focuses on the interaction between the brain, mind, body, and behaviour. The goal is to calm your mind and move into a peaceful and energised state of mind.
But meditation for children varies from that of adults.
While they may have a shorter attention span, they have some distinct advantages, explains author Lorraine Murray. For instance, children are more willing and receptive. They want to learn new things and if it disinterests them, they will be honest about it.
On the other hand, adults may often fake their engagement in order to be polite. They may concentrate faster, but might take much longer to relax.
How to introduce meditation to your child?
In order to introduce meditation to a child, you must read their state of mind, make it a part of their daily routine, join them along , and create a conducive environment.
Read their state of mind: You can start when they are excited to try something new. Once they develop this skill, they will be able to use it when they feel overwhelmed.
Make it a part of a routine: Meditation can be a great exercise that your child can practice during bedtime or as a morning routine.
Join them along: Initially, when you are explaining meditation to your child, you can join with them. However, later on, you can try to give them their space and let them find their zone of calmness.
Conducive environment: When you are explaining meditation to a child, make sure that the environment is peaceful and calm. They will never be able to concentrate and pay attention to what you are saying if the TV is playing behind them. Create a suitable environment that can help your child relax.
Practicing Meditation With A Child: An Age-wise Guide For Parents
Teaching meditation to toddlers and preschoolers
- Encourage them to sit in a comfortable position, even better if they are to do it cross-legged.
- Ask them to inhale and exhale deeply and notice how their belly moves up and down.
- Remind them of the many benefits of meditation including a feeling of calm and existence of positive energy around them.
It is also important to be patient with your children as they learn to work their way into a meditative state, especially when they are much younger.
Teaching meditation to school kids
Children love stories and visualisations. So in order to make meditation more engaging, try to share imaginative stories while they meditate.You read them a story of meditating animal or a character they love and ask them to close their eyes and visualise it meditating alongside.
In this stage, you may also need to teach them about breathing techniques.
- Make them sit down and close their eyes.
- Help them focus their energy on their breath and then slow it down.
- Ask them to inhale and exhale deeply.
- Their mind must follow their breath.
You could also try the five finger breathing technique. Watch this video to learn how to do it.
Teaching meditation to teenagers
At this age, children’s minds are often preoccupied and they may even feel stressed and anxious. Which is exactly what is happening as well.
So if your child still hasn’t got used to meditating, this would be a great time to start. Again, they will need to clear the clutter in their mind and commit to focussing their energies on their body as they start the process.
Here’s how they can start meditating:
- Identify a safe place. It can be their bedroom or even the garden.
- Ask them to be aware of their fleeting thoughts. The goal of meditation is not to stop thinking altogether but to control these thoughts and slowly take more control of the mind.
- Ask them to pay attention to their breathing and how their chest and abdomen move along with it.
- You can ask them to pay attention to how their breath feels on their nostrils, while they practice their breathing exercise.
- If they are unable to follow along, you can also download meditative apps like Calm or Headspace, to follow a step-by-step guide to meditate.
No matter the age group, meditation can do wonders to the mind, body, and soul. It is even better utilised if you start early in life.
So encourage your children to meditate and help them feel calm, relaxed, and more in tune with themselves.
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