Posted in Balanced Parenting | March 16, 2015 | Comments Off
People often ask me, “what is the right age to introduce my child to meditation?” and I always answer the same way, “whenever they are ready!”. I know this seems like I am avoiding answering the question, but the truth is that all children develop at their own pace, so there is no right or wrong age. Any parent with more than one child will know that each child has their own interests, their own individual likes and dislikes. There is no point in trying to teach your child meditation if all they want to do is run around and play, forcing something like meditation on a child will only have an adverse effect by creating negative associations with with it. On that same note, if your child expresses an interest in trying meditation then embrace this, no matter how young they are!
I used to coordinate and teach yoga and meditation classes for children at a yoga retreat centre in Australia, and my classes were quite diverse in age. Some children expressed interest in meditation from as young as 2.5 years of age, others don’t show any interest until later in their teens.
If you have noticed that your child is interested in what you are doing when you meditate, or even if you think meditation might be helpful in bringing some balance to their lives by helping them deal with some of the stresses they might be experiencing, then here are some suggestions to help you introduce meditation to your child:
Practice With You
Children love to be able to participate in what it is that you are doing, and if they have seen you meditate, then often they will be curious and want to join in. Embrace this! Meditation helps children develop coping skills that are very useful for transitioning from a small child to a teenager and eventually into a young adult. Infact these coping skills are helpful no matter how old you are! You may find your child distracts you a little from your own practice, so try and put some time aside for yourself, and some time aside to practice with them as well!
It’s important that you don’t neglect your own time to meditate!
Children have short attention spans, so depending on your childs age, keep the meditation time quite short. If they enjoy the experience, and don’t have time to become bored and restless, then they are more likely to want to practice more often!
Even 5 minutes of meditation is an amazing accomplishment for young children!
Guided meditations are a fantastic way to introduce the principles of meditation at a very young age, and what better time than just before sleep! You can create them yourself, perhaps incorporating interests you know your child has, or you can purchase a book, or look online for children’s guided meditation scripts. This way they get all the pleasure of having you read to them as they go to sleep, as well as the benefits of the meditation.
My mother used to read to me from ‘Moonbeam Meditations’ and they helped me cope with being bullied at school.
There are many different types of meditations available to listen to, and often children find meditation easier if there is someone talking to them and guiding them through the steps. Find a nice simple one with lots of visualisations, because kids have great imaginations and this will keep them interested.
You might like to record some of your own for them to listen to!
Different Types Of Meditations
Often when we think of meditation we envision someone sitting in a lotus pose with their hands in a mudra (meditative hand posture). However there are many different types of meditation, such as lying down meditation, drawing meditation, chanting meditation and even walking meditation. These last three types are fantastic for children because they are required to focus on an action, as well as a thought, which helps them to stay interested and focused.
Writing the symbol for ‘om’ (or ‘Aum’) whilst repeating the mantra out loud is a great meditation practice for older children to help them develop awareness and also to help calm and relax them.
Combine Yoga And Meditation
To increase the experience of meditation, try practicing a few yoga postures before moving into meditation (this is even a great idea before bed). Especially some balancing practices as this helps focus and calm their mind.
For younger children try using animal poses and creating a story with the different practices, this helps stimulate their creativity and helps keep them interested!
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Posted in Balanced Mind and Soul | March 11, 2015 | Comments Off
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