Wiggly kids and device wielding teens may seem hard to focus. Like us, they sometimes find it challenging to bring themselves back to center. Practices like mindfulness and meditation are taking off in the current climate of our culture as a means to break free from technology and slow the ever churning pace. The space meditation gives us to connect to purpose and integrate is remarkable. However, these practices are often only directed at adults. What if we could teach our kids a fun, engaging, and simple system to build a pattern of meditation? Simplifying meditation for kids is not hard. Here are the three easy steps to remember:
3) SILENCE (or prayer)
This pattern is wildly powerful. It has innate wisdom. But it doesn’t have to complicated or overly serious. Play with it, see what the kids enjoy, and see where it leads you.
If it is a challenge to make this a daily event, consider doing it together on a weekend morning, making it part of the bedtime routine, or getting together in the kitchen while dinner is simmering. Kids take in so much from their environment so even intermittent exposure will allow them to pick up the lessons piece by piece.
- Dance party – pick a favorite song and see what silliness ensues
- Obstacle course in the house – around the kitchen island, under the dining room table, and end at the top of the steps. Let the kids make a maze or hide objects that need finding. Endless possibilities.
- Gym moves – running in place, jumping jacks, and push-ups. Fun, not body building.
- A favorite sport activity
- Wall jumps
- Walk around the block
- 10 deep inhales and exhales through the nose
- Two inhale, two exhale (8-10 rounds). Feels like two mini inhales followed by two mini exhales.
- 4 count inhale, 2 count hold, 4 count exhale, 2 count hold (3-4 rounds)
Silence (or Prayer or Visualization)
- Each person offer something they are thankful for
- Each person offer a prayer for someone in need
- Rotate who says a brief prayer
- Parent asks each child to close their eyes, picture themselves having a great day, feeling great, and acting with kindness
- Set 1-2 minute timer and see who can remain quiet with eyes closed.
There are countless ways to do this exercise so find what works for you and your family. Hopefully these ideas will spark your own creative way to connect and teach kids to look inward. These ideas can even be used with very young children but might look more like: dancing to a preschool song, asking them to count five breaths, and then asking what they liked today or are thankful for. As children grow and become more aware, these practices can grow with them, become longer and more expanded. Enjoy cultivating this powerful practice together!