Are you interested in teaching your children how to meditate?
Over the years I have had a number of teachers and caregivers (parents, grandparents, au pairs, nannies, aunties) ask me how they can teach children in their care to meditate.
There have been varying reasons:
- to quieten the mind
- to help children who have been bullied, suffered trauma or abuse
- tools to assist children to cope when their parents/care-givers have left, separated or divorced
- the loss of a loved one including a much loved pet
- a traumatic incident they have experienced or been witness to
- the addition of a sibling
- blended families
- to connect to their truth and identity
- diagnosed with ADHD or other disorders and illnesses
- to relax before nap or bedtime
- to bring them back to centre after an emotional outburst
- abandonment issues
My recommendations always come with a plethora of information and tools to assist them with the process.
Children learn by observing adults, especially those they trust and have a strong emotional attachment to for eg primary caregivers. This brings me to my first tip, which is to ask, do you meditate? Children learn by watching you. The best way to instruct a child is by showing them how you meditate.
Tip 2 – Being Present
One of the core principles of meditation is to be present.
We can all bring our attention to the present at some point during the day.
This is a very easy practice to incorporate daily for you and the children.
Children are naturally, inquisitive and present in their formative years. Watch how a child plays…when they are tired of doing one thing they move onto the next.
Encourage your child to connect to the current activity through their senses.
Have them stimulate their senses through touch, sight (colours), smell and taste (if relevant). This process also works great at mealtime.
Ask them how they feel. Allow them to make an emotional connection to the object or activity.
Make a choice not to have the TV on all the time. One of the worst distractions is to have the television on while your child is playing or to place them in front of the TV to distract them or quieten them down.
Tip 3 – Ground in Nature
Encourage children to walk barefoot on the grass. Prep by asking questions connecting to their senses. Once they have an understanding of what is required they will start doing it on their own.
Through the soles of your feet, feel the grounding energy of Mother Earth, as her energy flows to every part of your body.
Visualise the energy. Give it colour and form, for eg. a golden light.
Dirt and mud are also very grounding. Show them how to squish it in between their toes. Discuss the experience with them and ask them what it feels like. You are teaching them to be present in nature.
Stop yourself from washing the mud and dirt off.
If you are always wanting them to be clean and presentable, look at that.
If it comes up for you, ask yourself what is that about?
Remember we are all individuals, what works for you might not work for your child. Explore their way of connecting.
Tip 4 – Clouds and Imagination
- Throw a blanket or towel on the ground.
- Have them lay on their back looking up at the sky.
- Two options:
- Visualise images in the cloud without sound.
- Visualise and vocalise.
- Ask them questions: What do they see, how does it make them feel.
- When they finish this exercise have them draw what they saw.
Tip 5 – Plants
- Teach them how to appreciate plants as spiritual beings.
- Communicate with plants, trees and flowers.
- Lessons: Appreciation and respect.
Tip 6 – Communicating with Other Beings
Talk to animals, insects, fish and birds.
Have them walk in the garden or bush and chat away to any insects they see. I call some of the really tiny insects, fairies. If they come across my path I communicate with them and ask if they have a message for me.
If you have a furbaby at home have your child get down to the level of the animal (instead of looking down) and have a conversation. Respecting the animal’s space. Make sure you don’t force the animal to participate. Depending on the previous relationship with the child and the energy in the home your furbaby might not be willing to participate and that is okay.
Animals are very intuitive and provide us with unconditional love no matter the circumstances.
I vocalise daily to my furbabies and koi fish, acknowledging and giving gratitude, that they are in my life.
Tip 7 – Breathwork – A Deeper Connection to Self
Here’s a really cool exercise you can do with your child.
- Lay on your back on a flat surface.
- Breathe normally.
- Have them visualise they are taking their breath from their big toe on the left foot.
- Their second toe, third toe, etc.
- The duration of this exercise depends on the age of the child. Start with their toes on their left foot and right foot, as they get used to the exercise you can add the other parts of the body.
- Move up the left side to the top of the thigh.
- Repeat for the right side from the big toe to the top of the thigh.
- Move to the front of the body (the trunk).
- Left arm.
- Left palm.
- Back of the hand.
- Then each of the fingers.
- Repeat for the right side from the right arm to the fingers.
- Front of the neck.
- Chin, cheeks, lips, nose, eyes.
- Left ear.
- Right ear.
- Front of the head.
- Top of the head.
- Left side of the head.
- Right side of the head.
- Back of the head.
- Back of the neck.
- Left shoulder.
- Right shoulder.
- Back of the left thigh.
- The calf.
- The heel.
- The sole of the left foot.
- Back of the right thigh.
- The calf.
- The heel.
- The sole of the right foot.
- This will allow them to be in a complete relaxed state. Remember depending on the age of the child is how far you go. Toes are a good start.
- This exercise allows them to focus their energy/breath into those specific areas.
- Bring awareness to the whole part of their body.
- This practice can evolve as the child grows.
- For 0-3 you can start with touching their toes while they are laying down. You will be bringing attention to the toe by your touch.
- Practice every day first thing in the morning.
Tip 8 – Gratitude
Encourage your child to start a gratitude journal.
If they are too young to write words, have them draw what they are grateful for.
Drawing allows for the beautiful gift of creativity to flow.
Creativity leads to passion and passion leads to purpose.
These are just some quick tips you can incorporate into your child’s daily activities. I have plenty more. You can adapt these tools for children from 0-3 years of age.
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