7 strategies to help your child with meditation
Here are 7 steps to help introduce your child to meditation.
Meditation – it’s a buzzword these days, along with artisanal, turmeric and a number of others. I was leading a guided meditation for children recently, and when asked, “what do you think meditation is?” A 7-year-old girl replied hesitantly, “Is it just sitting still and doing nothing?”
That is certainly what it looks like, and it is tricky to explain. This is why, whenever possible, I always say the best way to understand meditation is to practise it. Here are 7 steps to help introduce your child to meditation:
1. Use guided meditations
If you don’t know meditation, you can access the many recorded guided meditations that are out there. They range from visualisations to breathing more spiritually based ones.
2. Keep it short and fun!
Contrary to “sitting there and doing nothing” meditation can be hard work in the beginning. Like training the body, training the mind takes time and patience. Little and often is a good approach and you will be surprised how quickly you can start to feel the first glimpses of peace and calmness in meditation.
3. Make it relatable
Why is meditation relevant to me? I explained all the scientific benefits of mediation to a group of children recently– that it literally changes the grey matter in the brain – but it was only when I mentioned that Ariana Grande, Harry Styles and Katy Perry are amongst the famous people that practise it, that they picked up their ears and took notice.
“I meditate before going on stage – it helps me focus” – Harry Styles
“Meditation is a great way to keep my body well-centered while juggling shooting schedules and recording sessions” – Ariana Grande
“If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.”- Dalai Lama
4. Give them ideas of when they can use meditation to help them
Talk to your child about situations when they might find meditation particularly helpful. When they are feeling upset, confused or anxious – meditation is a great tool that will empower them to be able to manage their own emotions.
5. Posture is key!
Whether they sit cross legged on the floor or on a chair, sitting with a straight spine is important when meditating. The energy flows in the spine so sit up straight and proud!
6. Find a quiet place to practise meditation
Our mind brings us plenty of distractions, so if we can shut off some of the background noises then it cuts out one more rabbit warren down which our thoughts might want to run away.
7. Relax the body!
Where there is tension, is where the energy will go. Help your child to relax their body before beginning meditation. Practise some standing inhalations whilst tensing the body, and exhalations while relaxing the body. This has the added benefits of introducing them to the idea of directing the energy where you want it to go. The beauty of meditation is just a little practise can make a big difference. Give it a try with your pre-teen and see what happens!