I was originally going to write a post on kids’ meditation but decided to make this a general post that can apply to young and old – for anyone that wants to bring meditation into their daily routine (or who you want to subtly force it upon, ie, your kids). I realized I don’t really describe it differently to kids vs adults, and the technique is simple, with options so each individual can customize to their liking. I basically ask kids to sit and bring their attention to their breath. Long, slow breaths. When their mind wanders, bring their attention back to their breath. Repeat. Simple. I will go into more detail below about explaining technique and you can add more information or options depending on the child/age/personality, etc…
I hadn’t meditated in a couple of years, before two weeks ago. It had been on my list of things to-do for years. Lately, at times when I felt short of patience or reactive (usually to my teenagers), I reminded myself how meditation would help and made a mental note to start ‘tomorrow’. But still, for whatever reason, I just couldn’t make the time. I even wrote ‘meditate’ on a sticky note and stuck it on my fridge this past winter (or fall?) and, still, did nothing. Since having more time on my hands with covid-19 social isolation, about 2 weeks ago I just decided today was the day. I started out simple – I did 3 minutes after my morning yoga. I even set a timer so that I didn’t need to be concerned about time and could focus on my breath. Instant results! And, the next day I easily moved it to 5 minutes, and have since been getting my 8 year old back into it with some longer 20 minute (max) guided meditations (at her request). My 15 year old daughter prefers meditating every night before bed, using the free headspace app. My 13 year old son, he’ll sit with us sometimes but also likes to listen to recorded, kid’s animal guided meditations (purchased on iTunes) on his iPod in his room, preferably in the evening or closer to bedtime. I’ve decided in these days of homeschooling, that meditation will be apart of their daily routine/schooling.
“You can know it only
when the mind is still.”
I first researched and tried meditation in 2009 after losing our 3rd child at full term. Meditation (along with spiritual survival books) truly saved me and helped show me my true strength, helping me through my toughest years of compounded grief. I started out with a mix of sitting in silence and Deepak & Oprah guided meditations, which I found helpful for its positive and inspirational messages and helpful tips and reminders. Eventually, I grew into prefering to sit in silence. I find it the best way to truly challenge myself to let go of all thoughts and to bring my attention to my breath, immersed in stillness and truly being in the moment, instilling a calmness in my life. (However, lately I am enjoying the guided meditations with my kids – a change is nice.)
Below, I’m going to outline in point form what has worked for me, in hopes that a little direction will help motivate you to try it and to help you learn what works best for you &/or your kids. Start today. Just 3 minutes. It’s really simple… but the impact and effects are huge, and immediate.
Don’t give up–if below is too much, stop reading and just go sit down and focus on your breath. It’s really all about the breath. When your mind wanders to thoughts, and it will, just bring your attention back to your breath. This is normal, and actually part of what strengthens your mind and ability to meditate–the process of bringing your attention back to your breath, developing your ability of becoming a silent observer of your thoughts.
Ok, here we go…
CHOOSE YOUR TECHNIQUE
• there are many ancient & modern techniques; I prefer focusing on the breath in silence over recorded, guided meditations or repeating mantras to yourself (inside your head or out loud) while you meditate; though, if you’re just beginning try all of them to see what works best for you
• there is a time and a place for mantras or positive affirmations; for example, if you are in need of motivation for building strength/confidence in a certain area or a belief inside of you, or to overcome self-sabotaging, negative thoughts etc…, you can manifest and teach your mind to believe whatever you want it to believe. “I am confident, I am calm, I am a good sleeper”, etc…
Affirmations are great for kids
to repeat inside their heads
along with their slow breath inhales
to help them manifest and fall asleep.
• the importance of anchoring your sacrum by sitting is also connected to chakra 1, the root chakra or base chakra, which is located at the end of our spine
• meditation cushions can help your hips feel more comfortable
• I like to set a timer so I’m not worrying about checking the time
• I like to softly engage core muscles which prevents me letting the belly ‘fall’, which helps posture. Which means I do hold my belly inward slightly, but always maintaining ease and comfort, focusing more on filling/expanding lungs
• there are a variety of breathing techniques for meditating (ie, breaths in, pause, and out all for same count) that you can research
• stop thinking, let go of all thoughts; quiet mind, your brain gets to take a break
• the more you let go of your thoughts in meditation and take your mind to your breath, the easier it becomes
• less anxious and stressed
• ability to manage anger
• less reactive, a silent observer of your own thoughts (letting go of the storyline & not reacting to your thoughts)