Our kids live in a world of non-stop buzz, homework, over programming, video games, tablets and so much more. They are constantly overworking their brains and bodies. This is of course OK (to some extent), but they too need some balance in their life. Meditation is becoming more and more popular amongst adults and meditation for kids is starting to gain momentum. So, why not incorporate meditation into your kids’ life as well?
Kids need a chance to feel their breath, connect with their bodies and visualize as well. The numbers for ADHD diagnoses is skyrocketing. What if these kids could have significant improvements in behaviour and concentration from meditation? Chances are they can. A study done at the National Therapies Research Unit at the Royal Hospital for Women in Sydney, Australia reported just that. Imagine or visualize, if you will, meditation techniques that can help make bedtime routines smoother. You’re in, right?
I know what you are thinking…my kids can barely sit at the table long enough to eat their dinner, how am I going to get them to stay perfectly still and quiet to meditate? Well my friends, I will share with you three tried and tested ways that work with my family. But before I do, you’ll need to pay close attention to these tips:
Tip #1 – Start small. One or two minutes is a good starting point. Maybe even 30 seconds will do the first few times. We have to train the body and the mind. SLOW & STEADY!
Tip #2 – Have realistic expectations. If you are reading this, chances are you have tried to meditate yourself. You know what goes on in your head and body when you try. Actually, meditation has helped me improve my crow’s pose as I often move right into it during meditation. So don’t get angry or upset when your kids laugh or move around. Embrace it and use it as a benchmark for your next goals.
Tip #3 – Be creative and do what works for your family. It may take a few tries, but see what feels right for our family.
OK…Here we go with 3 techniques for meditation for kids and the rest of the family:
#1 Gratitude Time or G-Time. Explain to your kids that when we do things in silence we are making a greater connection with our bodies and with the activity we are taking part in. We forget to be thankful for a cool glass of water, the ability to clean our teeth or a favourite toy we have had for a while. Decide on a time that will be G-Time and set a timer. Whatever the family is doing at that time, either together or individually, everyone will go about it in silence thinking about the experience. Being thankful for your juicy snack, your snuggly pajamas or the floor you are sitting on. This is SO Zen. Remember, start with a short period of time.
#2 Family Meditation. This activity we did a while ago in our house for a few months. Eventually the novelty ran out, but I think we are ready to give it another go. We have a beautiful hanging gong we brought home from our travels in Vietnam. You don’t need something so elaborate. Any bell or wind chime will do. You can also use a candle or special flashlight.
Gather your materials and find a place to sit on the floor in a circle. Dim the lights and in a calm voice declare that this is meditation time and have a new subject to think out each time. For example you may think happy thoughts for an ill family member or you might just reflect on the best part of your day. You can even remember back to an amazing memory from a family vacation. Someone in the family should then ring the bell to start the meditation time.
Take a few deep breaths, elongate the exhale and encourage others to do the same. This oxygenates the blood, relaxes the body and helps with focus. When the time is over ring the bell again. Slowly get back to your daily doings. There is no reason to force anyone to close their eyes. This will come as they begin to be more comfortable and trust the exercise.
#3 Pass The Ball. This is by far my favourite technique for meditation for kids right now. It incorporates pranayama (breathing) and visualization. I believe both of these are excellent for academics and athletics. This meditation technique is meant to be 1-1, but with older or more experienced children, you can begin to make the group larger. I like to do this while lying in bed at night.
Lie next to your child and describe a ball they have seen before. Describe the colours, designs, texture and size. Touch your child’s nose and slowly make an arch in an upwards direction ending at your nose. Explain that they are to imagine the ball will follow this path with every deep breath you each take. Essentially, you are visualizing your exhales passing the ball back and forth. Take a big breath in through your nose and exhale through your mouth. When your child visualizes the ball in front of their face, they will take a deep breath and exhale, passing the ball to you. Try to add a few extra breaths each time you “play”. You can also let your child design their own ball each time.
I have developed these meditation techniques to help my family be more grateful and successful throughout the day. I am really interested to know how these go for your family. Leave us a comment below.
Peace, love and have a nice day!
~ Plant Trainers
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