By Rebecca Ernest
You may be thinking this is a crazy idea. That you can’t even manage to get your kids to sit still through a meal, so how on earth would they ever be able to meditate?
Easy. (stay with me)
I run a sacred circle for kids, and we gather each week.
We have a circle of 12 very different kids aged 5-11 and each week we end our circle with a meditation.
12 kids completely still, totally silent, calming their minds and tuning in to their bodies.
And they love it.
So let me explain how, because there seems to be a lot of misguided beliefs surrounding meditation with kids.
“My child CANNOT sit still for that long.”
I hear you. But here’s the thing; meditation is such a broad practice that you can have lots of fun with it while still reaping all the benefits.
And you DON’T need to sit still.
For a relaxation meditation, you do need to set the mood.
Picture this; dimly lit room, soft meditation music playing, candles all around, calming essential oils in the diffuser, yoga mat rolled out, a pillow for your head, a blanket and an eye pillow.
Can you feel it?
The kids are already sensing the calm before we even start, and are beginning to drop in to a state of relaxation.
Some kids sit cross-legged, but most of them enjoy lying down and surrendering to a rare moment of stillness.
Sometimes I take them on an imaginative journey, tell them a story or just guide them in a whole body relaxation.
It’s not often kids are offered a moment to still their minds and rest their bodies, and they actually really welcome this.
As a lover of crystals, I often share mine with the kids and they love to choose one to meditate with, which empowers them to have a little control over their meditation experience.
It also provides a wonderful focal point for them during their meditation, balancing one on their chest, forehead or simply holding one in their palm.
But… we don’t always meditate lying down.
Sometimes we move.
Meditation is not about sitting in lotus position in total silence. It’s about stilling our thoughts, calming our bodies, shifting negative energy, connecting within and anchoring ourselves to the present moment in a way that resonates with you.
Sometimes we do a nature meditation, where we simply go outdoors, barefoot on the earth and immerse ourselves in nature.
Creating nature mandalas.
Mindfully observing, listening, sensing.
Some weeks we do a walking meditation.
Yes, it’s a thing!
We walk in rhythm with our breathing, in sync with meditation music. Breathing in as we lift our foot, breathing out as we plant it softly back down. As Thich Nhat Hanh put it, we walk as if we are kissing the ground with our feet.
Sometimes we dance intuitively. We really feel the music and move expressively, shifting our mood. They always love doing this and it’s such a powerful way to release stagnant energy and emotions.
After a visualization meditation, we will often get creative and draw what we saw, the places we visited or the animals we met.
Art is a fabulous expressive tool, and even more powerful when coupled with meditation.
You’d be surprised by how much kids enjoy meditating.
I run weekend workshops for kids also, and after each one I always ask what their favourite part was. No guesses for what their answer usually is.
If I still haven’t enticed you to introduce your kids to meditation, then let me share this with you;
Five added benefits meditation will have on your kids
Reduced anxiety - meditation helps kids to shift out of fight and flight mode (aka, meltdown mode) and ease back in to rest and relaxation, reducing anxiety and also subsequently reducing their reaction to triggers.
Improved behaviour - studies have shown that kids who meditate regularly have an improved attention span, clearer focus, increased emotional resilience and improved social behaviour.
Better health - meditation lowers your heart rate, increases melatonin levels, lowers cortisone levels, improves circulation, increases blood flow, improves the respiratory system and assists in regulating emotions.
Better sleep patterns- there’s nothing better than a meditation story at bedtime. It welcomes the most dreamy state of sleepy relaxation and a wonderful night of sleep. Yes, yes it does. Sweet sleep.
Mindfulness - Meditation is a practice of mindfulness. Bringing an awareness to your body’s senses, your surroundings, anchoring you to the present moment. Mindfulness helps us notice positive moments, creating a strong positive mindset.
So if you feel ready and empowered to introduce meditation to your kids now, then pat yourself on the back, because your kids will thank you for it when they’re older.
Meditation is a wonderful practise that helps us on so many levels; physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually.
If we can teach this to our kids from an early age, we are gifting them a powerful tool that will help them navigate life with clarity and ease.
And what a wonderful gift that is.
P.S Do you know someone who could really benefit from reading this? To give them the motivation and push they need to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of those around them? Share this post with them. Even if they don't embrace it straight away, you've done your part. Thank you.
Rebecca Ernest - Little Dream Catchers
A children’s well being mentor, mindfulness and meditation teacher.
With three young children of her own, and a passion for well being, Rebecca is dedicated to nurturing and teaching kids powerful life skills through her sacred children’s circles.
Get in touch with Rebecca
The next step:
#wellness #youth #mentalhealth #wellbeing #happiness #gratitude #positiveeducation #positivity #love #health #kids #mum #dad #children #child #mentalillness #depression #anxiety #childdepression #adolescent #meditation #visualization #visualisation