It occurred to me recently that I was doing my kids a disservice by not teaching them how to meditate. They know the word. I use it all the time. I do it. They recognize the smell of mommy’s incense and associate it with that thing she does early in the morning before everyone rises, but having an actual understanding of meditation, not a clue. Also, another reason my kids need meditation in their lives is because the nights in my house are insane. They are way overstimulated. Mama needs more quiet and less noise at night. So do their little brains.
It is an actual crime these children have zero quiet time throughout the day. It is “go” all the time with not an ounce of mindfulness and some deep breaths. This is massively important. I do it for me. Why would I not encourage my kids to learn and practice for themselves?
I just air-high-five’d myself. Teaching my kids about meditation is a good thing. Actually, it is a great thing. It is a gift and we should all give our kids the gift of meditation. It is an opportunity for them to learn how to practice mindfulness while they are small, and maybe, just maybe, they will continue with their practice on their own as they grow. The benefits of meditation are endless. There is not a single negative, except of course if you decide to simply not do it at all.
Benefits of Meditation For Kids and Why They Need Brain Breaks
There are so many:
- Self awareness – Calming their minds will help them to focus on their own desires. Then, the domino effect begins–goals are created and accomplished.
- Intuition – I love this one. This is the spiritual benefit. A sort of sixth-sense can appear through mindfulness and meditation. I tell my kids meditation gives them super powers.
- Happiness/Peace – What do we all want in life? We want to be happy. My therapist used to tell me, “we can’t be happy all the time, that is impossible, but we can achieve peace.” Meditation will help your child obtain this sense of peace. When you have happy kids it perpetuates kindness and compassion. A happy, peaceful child is more apt to help a friend out. Lead by example. Be a positive influence. This is huge!
- Helps with sleep problems and insomnia – With all the stimulation our kids get throughout the day, this is truly the key to a good night’s sleep. What better way to get prepared for bedtime than with a brain reboot. A quiet-minded child = R.E.M.
- Inspiration/Creativity – Remember when we were kids? Boy oh boy, times have changed. We used to use our imagination. Kids these days… NOT NO MO! Lotta gaming. Lotta device time. Lotta watching kids play with their toys on YouTube. WTF?! Kids today need to meditate for this very reason alone. Meditation encourages creativity. Humans, by nature, are creative beings. When the mind is cluttered, creativity can get trapped. Meditation is the key kids need to unlock their little minds and let their creative juices flow. What are you waiting for?
- Acquiring a sense of inner peace – Let’s say your kid is getting harassed by the town a-hole, meditation is going to aid your child in getting rid of negative thoughts and crappy energy. Blech! Who needs it?
- Calming effect and sense of level-headedness – Say your kid IS the town a-hole, meditation helps relax the mind and provide a sense of calm. You are granted a sense of self when one is calm and you become more aware of your effect on your surroundings, hence, less hurting your peers and making better life choices.
- Ease anxiety – Raise your hand if you ever experience anxious thoughts or feelings periodically. Yeah,me too. And so do little kids. Sure, little kids, little problems, but they still experience stress and meditation can make it disappear. It works. I swear.
This is how you do it.
- Find a quiet space. My kids meditate at night, usually in their bedrooms.
- Burn incense or your favorite candle. Meditation requires nothing at all, but for my kids (and myself), I make it a bit of a spa/relaxation experience and, let me tell you, they friggin’ love it.
- Dim the lights.
- Get warm and cozy. Will snuggles under a blanket. Mia tries to sit like her mama. They both end up laying for the quiet phase of the experience.
- Choose your guided meditation. We use Deepak’s app for kids called My Light Shines Bright This app is seamless and user-friendly. It is geared towards kids between eight and twelve years old. I absolutely love it. You choose your background music–I let the kids pick, after all, it is their practice. They get to pick background options like a woodland waterfall, a pillow of clouds or star-gazing. Then, there are the meditation options. They are guided, themed and FABULOUS! Topics include: “I Release the Day”, “My Light Shines Bright”, and “I Am Thankful”. If you spend $25 you will get all 22 guided meditations. You can mix and match meditations with music.
- Essential oils are a show-stopper. I use lavender as it is very calming and great before bed. I drop a few drops into their tiny palms when their meditation is complete. They cup their little hands over their noses and breathe deep.
- You can also rub a little into your hands and give them a scalp massages. William moans and yells, “Oh yeah, mom. Don’t stop.” LOL! Not very mindful, but it appears to most definitely feel good.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when when I first introduced meditation to them. I was surprised about many things. Most surprising was how much they actually love it and look forward to it. But something that has also blown me away during this process, is the heartwarming conversations we have had. Conversations I am pretty sure I would not have had with them otherwise. One topic in particular led to much talk. They chose the “Release The Day” theme and it so happened Mia had a hard moment earlier that day in school about which I wasn’t aware. After the introductory conversation had began on the app, the person leading the meditation suggested that sometimes we have bad days. Sometimes things go wrong or not as planned. Mia chimed in. I quietly paused the app. She had told me about a friend she plays with often and how she believed she had hurt her feelings. I just listened. She said she apologized but she had still felt bad. Until a moment during this particular meditation. Mia was given permission to let go of the day. It resonated with her. I saw it. She knew that tomorrow she could start fresh and put that not-so-great moment behind her. I watched her accept the situation and move forward. There was another moment when my little guy was prolific with his thoughts about the themed meditation, “My Light Shines Bright”. There is a lot of discussion about how we all have bright lights within us. Sometimes our light might dim. Perhaps someone makes you feel bad or you say something to someone else and dim their light. William went on about how dimming other lights is unkind and that he recognized when others dim his light it makes him feel sad. If you are anything like me and are still in search of that parenting manual, this may just be the very manual we are looking for. Press play and let Deepak do the talking. It takes a village right?!
**Disclaimer** They will hold the light dimmer against you. I have been told regularly that I am dimming their lights when I tell them they need to clean their rooms…
I hope I have covered everything. My world has become such a brighter and more vibrant place since I have made meditation a priority. I know that can only mean the same for my kids. Thus far, the introduction has been completely positive. Nights are calmer and so are they. They love it. They ask me everyday, “Mom, are we gonna do the thing?” I hope you try this if you don’t already. You will be giving your children a most incredible gift.
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