In our modern world, surrounded by technology and with such a fast-paced lifestyle, we are constantly bombarded by external stimuli. This is as true for adults as it is for children. They are drawn into the maelstrom of tight schedules, and phones, tablets, and others always in their hands. Absorbed in this digital world, inner peace and spiritual connection are slipping from our hands. Meditation for children can be a great tool to help youngsters to meet again, build trust and esteem, and overcome their fears.
Unfortunately, we are seeing more and more cases of children suffering from stress and anxiety. As with adults, children have different ways of responding to these stimuli and, therefore, the problem can manifest itself in several ways. It depends a lot on their individual personality and the age and emotional abilities they have acquired in their environment. On the other hand, they often feel unable to express their problems in words when they are of a deeper nature than, for example, a tummy ache and other physical ailments.
In general, when talking about meditation, children think of a “boring” moment, of sitting “doing nothing”. And this is if they even know the word. The challenge is to change this perspective so that meditation is not a punishment but a moment of relaxation and enjoyment. These are our tips.
Meditation involves a deeply personal journey. Even for adults, it can be quite a challenge at first. In our cultural environment, those moments of stillness and introspection seem unnatural and even uncomfortable.
The same thing happens with children. Don’t get frustrated if they offer resistance at first or bind yourself to a certain goal or objective. You can propose certain intentions, but you must always be willing to make adjustments for the comfort and well-being of children.
Let go and experiment with them, allowing their curiosity to be the vehicle to guide them. Eventually, you will find the best way to channel its energy flow.
To make the moment of meditation something expected by the boys, it is important to make it special and exciting. The best thing is to choose a certain time of the day and fix it so that you always know that at that time, it is time to stop and connect with our inner world. Make it a time to spend and share.
It also helps to have a specific physical location. Design an area of the house and add special objects; perhaps a very comfortable cushion, drawings, paintings. Any type of decoration that helps them connect physically and emotionally with that corner.
You must develop your meditation practice. Children’s curiosity will naturally lead them to want to know what they are doing. They will want to accompany you and eventually imitate you. Once a genuine interest is generated, it will be easier to guide them on the path to develop their meditative practice without forcing or forcing them.
Of course, it is also vital that you accompany them at every step. Your presence and guidance will help them feel relaxed and safe, and sharing a moment of introspection with your children is a beautiful way to connect and strengthen your relationship. You can even find time to meditate as a family, bringing all the members together in an atmosphere of serenity and peace.
Deep breathing is the starting point for meditative states, as it helps us anchor ourselves in the present moment. The control of breathing is vital to stabilize our energy flows, something so necessary for children who increasingly suffer from anxiety, stress, etc.
Sit with the child and tell him to focus on how air moves in and out of his body. You can also tell him to place his hand on his tummy, feeling it rise and fall with each inhales and exhale. Synchronize your breathing with his, so you are both connected to the present and each other.
All children are different, and while meditation is more difficult for some than others, finding the right technique or exercise can make a big difference.
Use a timer. Setting a certain time is important because the children know that the exercise will end at a certain time. Start small; about three minutes is ideal for a slow introduction to meditation. You can download specific apps that accompany the moment with music, Tibetan bowls or ambient sound.
Since we mentioned sound, auditory tools are great for getting them into a meditative state. Previously, in our article on mindfulness in schools, we mentioned that, where this technique begins to be applied, a certain sound is used, such as a gong or a bell, so that children know that the time for mindfulness has come. This is easy to imitate at home; select a specific sound that tells them that it is time to meditate.
A very effective technique is to ask them to choose a person they admire (it can be a character, an athlete, a singer, a family member, etc.) and guide them in a visualization exercise. Ask them to describe their face in detail and try to keep it in their awareness. Tell them that when another thought comes to erase that image, try to ignore it so that they can continue to “see” that person. This exercise helps focus concentration for a certain period.
If the child is a little older, you can try the five-minute challenge. This exercise consists of taking five minutes of our day to perform all our actions in a 100% present way, fully registering our movements, sensations, emotions, and the environment in which we live. As children notice their place in the here and now, ideally, they can register it, either mentally or even out loud. They can describe their room, finding new angles in everyday objects, or begin with statements such as “today I feel…”, and delve deeper and deeper as they loosen up to exercise.
Find (or make up) fun exercises. These usually have the format of stories or associations with different animals. Metaphors are also helpful. The balloon, for example, consists of telling them to visualize their belly like a balloon that they must inflate when they inhale deeply and when they exhale, it deflates, releasing the air with a small hissing sound.
Meditation for children can present a great challenge. Its large amounts of energy may seem like an impediment to achieving a serene, reflective moment, but it is simply a matter of finding the right way to harness it.
Meditating helps children get the tools they need to deal with many stressful situations, trust themselves, and begin to function socially. If you are patient, you will get a beautiful bonding moment and you will begin to notice positive results.