"I'm going to meditate, Mom!" My 9 year old shouted as he zoomed up the stairs to his bedroom.
It made my heart smile. I often announce when I'm going up to my sanctuary to meditate, as a signal to him that I would prefer silence without interuption unless absolutely necessary. I found it amusing that he'd copied me.
You see, just a few weeks ago he started asking me questions about meditation and crystals and all these woo-woo things he sees me practice and use regularly. He was home from school one day recovering from a virus, and without really even thinking about it, I asked him if he'd like to join me in meditating.
He's usually content to play whatever video game he's currently obsessed with, but to my surprise he answered with an emphatic, YES!
He ran and grabbed his Batman pillow and plopped it on the hard wood floor next to mine.
Since I usually like to meditate with crystals, I held 2 crystals in my hands and let him choose one. I breifly explained how crystals have magical properties and that got him really excited!
I had already been teaching him breathing techiniques as a pattern interupt to help him calm himself during his emotional meltdowns. When I heard davidji mention in an interview that he used the term Tactical Breathing to teach law enforcement officers how to de-stress and begin meditating, I knew I had to use that term with my son. He aspires to be a "swat team guy" or a policeman when he grows up. So I was speaking his language with that term.
So we started our meditation by breathing slowly for sixteen seconds, as in the video above, and sitting criss-cross-applesauce (that phrase from kindergarten never gets old) on our pillows on the floor. We held our crystals gently in the palms of our hands.
Then, I guided him to choose a mantra to repeat in his head while he continued breathing slowly. Just one sentence. A positive statement.
He lasted several minutes, which also surprised me. When he decided he was done, he was ecstatic! He was smiling and raving about how great he felt. I had to giggle because his reaction was so innocent and pure and down-right delightful!
5 Tips to Help YOU Teach Your Kids How to Meditate
- Choose a name for a slower breathing technique (like the #16seconds or Tactical Breathing technique by davidji) that appeals to your child -- Princess Power Breathing? Superman's Cool Breathing? Get creative. Make it fun!
- Make a sanctuary. Just a space anywhere in your home, even if it's just in a corner. Add pillows anf make it comfy. This is a sacred little spot for relaxing and being quiet. If you don't have a permanent space you can dedicate as your child's meditation sanctuary, make it a fun activity to build a temporary one... like instead of let's build a fort! Let's build a sanctuary!
- Give them something to hold in their hands. I get it. It's tough to get a child to be still for any length of time. My son had an interest in my crystals, but not every kid would be thrilled to hold a crystal or learn about it's healing properties. Perhaps a stuffed animal or a favorite blanket? Something soothing, but not distracting. Or you could ask them how they want to feel and have them choose something that helps them feel that way.
- Maybe a mantra? Depending on the age and temperament of your child, they may like to focus on a mantra like my son did. It's important to keep it short and sweet. One sentence. Something they can easily remember and repeat silently in their head while they breathe deeply. Let them choose one or offer some of your expert parental guidance. "I am a kind and loving big brother." or "I'm a homerun hitter!" or "My body is beautiful and I am loved." It can be deeply meaningful or light-hearted and fun. It just needs to be positive. :)
- The Rules. There are no rules! This is about guiding them to calm their mind and emotions and nurturing their imagination. And there are oodles of benefits to meditating. Give them guidance, but not rules or restrictions here. No timers. No certian way to sit. No right or wrong way to do it. If you guide them, they will surprise you with what they come up with.
There are so many beautiful benefits of meditation! When we introduce our kids to this practice, I believe we are truly preparing them to face the world with grace and ease and show up as the uniquely gifted light-beings that they are.