It is commonly known that meditation is an extremely beneficial practice. But did you know, that meditation is also beneficial for children? So profound are the benefits of meditation for children that schools across the US have started to replace detention with meditation.
The practice of meditation with children can and should start from the home. At BookMeditationRetreats.com, we encourage parents to teach their children meditation from an early age as they can benefit tremendously from the practice.
The advantages include:
- Reduces stress
- Improves behavior and develops mindfulness
- Improves memory and concentration
- Strengthens bond between family members
Here are 6 steps you can take to help your child cultivate a meditation habit at home!
Focus on breath
As with any meditation, breathing is absolute key. When beginning to teach meditation to children, focus mostly on their breath. As a start, make sure they inhale and exhale fully through the nose. Help your child find awareness on their breath by simply asking them to focus on the rising and falling of their chest with each breath. Later you can add in different breathing techniques to your practice. A good breathing technique to start with is the Brahmari Pranayama, or the humming bee breath.
Tap into their imagination
Teaching meditation is just like teaching anything else to children. It requires you to tap into their imaginative side. Make meditation a fun practice using stories. Gather your children and their friends in a circle and play games with them. Make sitting still a fun competition between the children. You can also sing or chant mantras with them. The OM mantra is a particularly useful one to use with the kids!
Create a meditation corner
Just as how they have a designated space for fun and games, your children should also have a special corner for meditation. This corner should be positive and appealing to the child, so light up some candles or hang up pictures that they particularly like. Your child must want to come into the space willingly so make the space as inviting as possible.
Work on each day as it comes
Be patient and accept each day as it comes. Meditation is a journey towards mindfulness that cannot be completed in a day. If today your child doesn’t seem to be interested in keeping still and silent, don’t force them. Accept the situation as it is and begin anew again the next day. It may take weeks or months before your child is ready to sit with you and be still, and that is completely normal. Just as it’s difficult for you as an adult to quiet your mind, it is also sometimes challenging for the child to do the same.
Add yoga to the mix
A great way to teach meditation to children is through yoga! Yoga is known as moving meditation as it connects breath to movement. Kids yoga is usually taught in a dynamic way with stories being told of each pose, creating a fun environment for the child. If you are new to yoga, it can be a great way for both you and your child to learn something together. Don’t know where to start? Begin with the easy yet beneficial
As you ask your child to sit still and breathe deeply, join in too. Not only is the practice going to be beneficial for your own individual self, it is also a great bonding activity that you can do with your child. A session of meditation in the day can be both you and your child’s quiet time together. Children also learn what they observe, so seeing you also meditating will further incline them to participate.
This week’s Mini Me Yoga guest blogger, Elaine, is a yoga teacher and contributing writer for BookMeditationRetreats.com. Elaine’s writings have been featured on websites like huffingtonpost.co.uk, elephantjournal.com, and yogitimes.com, etc. She is a firm believer of meditation and plans to teach meditation to her son in the future.