How to teach kids of all ages to meditate
4 How to teach kids of all ages to meditate
It's proven that mindfulness and meditation help kids just as much as adults. When you meditate, you are better able to cope with the world and have a true inner sense of self and self-love.
Some schools across the country are recognizing just how helpful meditation is. There are programs such as Mindful Schools that aim to get more schools to start using meditation as part of the school routine. Until then, it's going to be up to you to teach your children meditation. This life tool has many benefits; teaching your children meditation is one of the greatest gifts you can give your children.
But, easier said than done. How do you teach kids of different ages to meditate? Like most things, yoga and meditation are age-appropriate. Roughly speaking, you can divide kids from ages 3-6, children age 6-12, and teens.
The great thing about teaching meditation and mindfulness is that kids are more naturally in tune with the present and now than adults. For children, they are absolutely connected to the now. They aren't thinking of the past, nor are they planning for the future. They are all about now. That's why your kid can be overwhelmed by emotions in the present moment. However, kids, therefore, have a headstart on learning meditation.
Meditation is a daily tool that we can all use to better deal with what the world has to throw at us. Kids have their own set of worries and concerns, and meditation is an excellent way for them to be better able to deal with things. You can, of course, book yoga classes for your kids. But, here are a few tips to get you started:
How to teach kids ages six and under
Even little kids can learn meditation. You can help younger kids with mindfulness, awareness, and presence by giving them small tasks. You could ask them to focus on a picture and ask them how many colors there are. Or ask them to focus on something, then ask them to close their eyes and remember what they saw. This allows your child to focus and be aware of their environment. These small tasks can help them learn and find words to describe what they saw. They may also ask more questions about what they saw. Don't try these tasks for more than five minutes or so. There's a fine line between excitement and boredom.
Conscious breathing can be a bore for kids (and adults), but to make it more attractive to younger kids, you can make it more of a game. Get your kids to create a lotus mudra, by putting their pinkies and their thumbs together. Ask kids to take a deep breath in and imagine a flower. Then ask kids to imagine the smell of the flower and the look of the flower's petals. Ask kids about how they feel, what color they are, and why. Encourage kids to explain how they are feeling. You can then ask kids to spend anything from 45 seconds to two minutes in quiet upright meditation.
By creating a dialogue, kids can connect to their feelings and emotions, such as anger and happiness, better. We have great tools at MFK you can use. The tracks are a great resource to allow children to understand their emotions and learn how to calm down.
How to teach kids aged eight and up to meditate
For older kids, you can try to connect to breathing and feelings and bear breath. Explain that as we inhale, our tummy expands like a balloon. And when we exhale, the balloon deflates. Once kids can do this, move forward to the bear breath. To do this, ask kids to breathe in and hold the breath for a count of four. And then slowly let the balloon go down to the count of four.
Begin with focused breathing for two minutes and increase. Ask kids where their breath is. Is it in their tummy or chest? You can ask kids to count their breath up to 100, depending on their age. While they do this, their thoughts may wander, but let them know it's okay for that to happen. Get them to track how many times their mind wanders. You can describe the breath as the string that holds the beads of a necklace together. We can't see it, but it's the life force that our minds, bodies, and souls are connected to.
You can encourage older kids to use a counted breath of ten for when they are feeling stressed. This is a great way to help kids focus on homework; it helps kids when they are stressed and angry. It also helps them calm down and sleep.
For older kids, during Savasana, you can speak loud and use or play a guided visualization. An excellent guided meditation is the Light Bath that fills the body with energy, light, and love. You can ask kids to lie down on their back and breathe and focus on areas of their body that feel tense. Guide children into releasing negative energy and allow inner peace to flow from their heads. Describe the light and guide them to visualizing the light streaming through every part of their body, such as the arms, legs, hand, feet, eyes, and ears, and brain and heart. Ask kids to breathe in love and allow them to release love to their friends and family. Breathe in forgiveness and letting go and breathe out forgiveness for all the people that have been mean to them. They can also give thanks for all their wonderful abilities and be grateful for being healthy, happy, and whole. This should have the effect of making kids feel lighter and more peaceful. Affirmations are great for this age group, and a suitable declaration might be I'm happy and healthy from my head to my toes.
How to teach teens to meditate
Teens can use the same methods of meditation as younger kids aged 7-12. Once they have mastered those, they can move onto meditation more akin to that for an adult. They can rub their palms to reactivate senses when thoughts distract them. Many teenagers may be resistant to meditation if it's new to them. Persistence is the key here. If your teens meditate for a month, it should become a habit. Most teens will want to keep going as they realize the benefits. If they persist, they'll notice they feel less angry, stressed, and more in control of their thoughts and feelings.
All these tips and methods are a great way to get the whole family to meditate at their level and understanding. Make sure to use the MFK resources that are labeled for different age groups, so you can easily find the right tracks. And remember, if you meditate every day, then it's the norm. Kids will accept daily meditation just like they brush their teeth.
Best of luck!