Children are hyperactive, energetic and noisy little developing creatures. Does this make it impossible for them to meditate?
Psychologist Karen Young of Hey Sigmund is the author of Hey Warrior, a book to aid children with anxiety. She explains why meditation is not only possible, but beneficial for kids.
“Kids are actually quite good at meditation. Meditation isn’t sitting there and doing nothing, it’s being present and in the moment. Kids will naturally find it easier than us adults to switch off,” Karen says. “Children differ from us in that they won’t be thinking about the past or being dragged into the future, they are more capable in engaging in the moment.”
That doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges. Kids might need to change reflective activities frequently, require direction, or take longer to focus but they can absolutely learn to do it.
“They might watch a bug on the floor for ages or listen to you tell a story over and over and be really present in that moment,” Karen says. “Meditation is being fully present in the moment and letting your brain be still sometimes, rather than racing constantly.”
Listen to Karen on Kinderling Conversation:
Karen recommends establishing a healthy practice at a young age to aid brain development and emotional management.
“It can also help with parts of the back of the brain responsible for their ‘big emotions’ such as anxiety, anger and sadness. Mindfulness can help them to find calm during those emotions. It reduces stress and teaches them to relax again,” she explains.
Karen provides us with her favourite ways to teach children meditation.
1. Introduce voice-guided meditation
Lead a meditative moment with your kids using your voice. You could sing to them, or read the same story over and over.
“A voice and guided meditation is great for kids,” Karen says. “They love the sound of your voice.”
2, Make a mindfulness jar
This is an easy and effective way to calm a child.
“Get a jar [or bottle] of warm water and add some glitter, get the child to shake it up and watch,” Karen recommends. “Tell them when they’re stressed this is what is happening in their heads. The glitter goes everywhere and they can’t see clearly. As they watch the glitter fall, that’s mindfulness and meditation. This is what happens when you’re still, you can see clearly.”
3. Talk about the senses
Talk to your child about being aware of their surroundings and in specific situations, ask about their five senses; taste, touch, smell, hearing and sight. For example, when eating food. Ask how it feels, smells or tastes when they pick it up. “Ask them to tell you about it and what that experience does inside them,” Karen says.
This form of mindful, focussed meditation in a simple experience like eating is easy to implement other areas of a child’s life.
Need some extra help? Listen to our kids’ meditations in the Play & Learn section of our Kinderling Kids Radio app! Download now.
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