Many of my meditation students have instinctively brought their knowledge of meditation home to their families. That’s because they know that meditation works to cultivate more calm in their lives. Building resilience with meditation to deal with our busy lives, our busy monkey minds and the things that can bring us down in an instant – an important skill we can teach our children that will last a lifetime.
Regardless of a child’s age, meditation can be introduced with great success. It doesn’t even need to be called ‘meditation’ at a young age. Many people have asked me how. You can use this at any time, at bedtime or when they’re all worked up and have trouble settling down. It’s simple:
- get them to stop what they’re doing, then sit or lie down.
- say ‘we’re going to listen for our breathing now’ and do this with them.
- have them put their hand on their tummy, and ask them if they feel their tummy moving with their breath.
- you can add some interesting activity to it, such as putting a pebble on their tummy so they can notice the rise and fall of the pebble as they breathe. Or, ask them to count their breaths. Anything that helps them calm down and focus on their breath is wonderful, and kids enjoy it.
Doing this together with your child is a nice bonding experience and can help them feel more connected to you.
As adults, we can easily dismiss that children feel stress at any age. Teaching children the simple lifeskill of meditation is a valuable gift.
Free the Mind is a brilliant documentary, showing how meditation helps war veterans with PTSD and children with ADHD.
I applaud actress Goldie Hawn for creating a mindfulness program for elementary schools called MindUP™. It trains teachers to bring meditation into the classroom, nurturing optimism and happiness, helps eliminate bullying and aggression, increases empathy and compassion, while resolving peer conflicts in schools. Students learn to self-regulate behavior and mindfully engage in focused concentration required for academic success.
So when I saw the photo above, it was easy for me to envision a better, calmer world if we raise today’s kids to meditate.
Do you have a child you could introduce this to? Please do!