Summer has come and gone and children (including my grandchildren) are now back in school. After visits from, with and to my grandchildren, I can now get back to something else that I love - writing about subjects that I think are important..., children, animals and the environment.
After being with my own grandchildren and other little children this summer, and listening to them tell me about their lives, I want to talk about something that people are beginning to recognize: the benefits of meditation for children. We adults tend to think that the world of children is all happy and carefree, but not so....Children, no matter how young, have anxieties and fears and they need to learn how to handle them as they grow up. Our job, as caretakers; is to give our children the love, support and tools that they need to be balanced and happy children as they go out into the world, encounter new situations, leave the security of home behind, separate from parents, meet other children and new adults and handle new challenges in their developing lives.
How can we help children deal with their anxieties and fears? One way to help being used in homes, preschools and schools is meditation and the practice of being mindful. It is a beautiful way of staying grounded and can be as simple as just taking time to breathe deeply while sitting or walking slowly.
Meditation is big subject and there are so many ways to meditate that I can't cover them all here. But what I can do is promote the benefits of meditation and suggest some easy ways to meditate with little children. Even toddlers can do it. How do you get started? Children are natural copycats and they want to do what you do. So even a little tyke can sit beside you and learn to meditate as you do. One easy thing to do is deep breathing. Breathe in ... 1-2-3, hold 1-2-3, breathe out 1-2-3, rest 1-2-3- and repeat. When a child gets overwhelmed, deep breathing can slow things down and the child can return to a more balanced state...and it's easy to show a child how to do it. Conventional wisdom says that a child can meditate in proportion to his or her age...In other words, 5 years - five minutes. Make it fun; add the touch of a "singing bowl" to signal the beginning and end of your session. Add an aromatherapy light (I have one that changes colors). Add soft music and a mantra that you and your child decide on such, as "I am always loved" or "The world is a happy place" to repeat.
There are many different mediations; try your own: bubbles; beautiful scenery, animals, etc. things that children love. Whatever the type of meditation, the end result will be calming the nervous system, reducing the stress responses, and being able to connect with and control negative emotions. It will lead to more positive children who can learn easier, adapt to life's stresses more efficiently ... and become kinder, more compassionate and more resourceful children.
Above: An aromatherapy light with lavender essential oil - It changes colors which children love
Below: A small singing bowl that a child can ring
More about meditation on the Internet.