Leading by example - How to teach kids to meditate by leading by example
What say, I love the idea of healthy eating and exercise and want to make it a cornerstone for my kids so that they get all the nutrients they need to grow. But at the same time, I'm a picky and unhealthy eater that never exercises. In addition, I couldn't care less about what my kids do once they are eighteen. As soon as they leave school, their ship has sailed. They may as well get on down to Wendy's (using a car or other mode of transport not requiring physical exertion) and survive on Frosty's, burgers, fries, brownies, and whatever else they may care to eat. If so, you'd probably think I was either mad, bad, or absurd. Or all three.
As nurturing parents getting our kids to exercise and eat healthily is not just for the here and now. It's a healthy attitude and routine that we want kids to adopt, so it's second nature to them. A kid that only ever knows healthy eating and habits (with occasional treats) is less likely to be part of the epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease that threatens to engulf the western world.
If you don't eat healthily yourself and exercise, it's somewhat hypocritical to expect your kids to do so. So, the same is true of meditation. Reading every book on meditation for kids and deciding that it's the way forward for your kids is great. But if you begrudgingly mutter a mantra once a fortnight for a few minutes, you're not only missing out on the benefits of meditation. You're also confusing your kids, setting a poor example, and dare I say, not being the best parent you could be. Since you'll never be as calm and as able to cope with the stress of parenting as you otherwise would be.
So unless you adopt a meditation routine for yourself, then it's rather unfair of you to ask your kids to make time for one. Leading by example, with yoga and meditation is the best way to teach your kids how to meditate. It will help your kids adopt meditation as a lifelong technique to combat stress, anxiety, be mindful, make better decisions, have better sleep, focus more fully, the list goes on.
The key to making meditation or anything part of your daily life is to learn to love it. That doesn't mean you have to become a yogi. But with everything in life, if you enjoy something, it's no bother at all summoning up the effort to do it. You do it because you want to do it. Simple.
If you're just learning that meditation is excellent for kids, but you've never tried meditation yourself, it can feel overwhelming. You are desperate to give your kids the gift of mindfulness throughout their childhood and adulthood. And you also want to be a less stressed and calmer parent - but where do you start? How do you teach kids to meditate?
Well, the answer is right here. Rather than giving you techniques, we've scoured the net to find the best resources that will make you fall in love with meditation.
For adults, if you want to perform yoga as well as meditating, you can reap even more benefits. As adults, we tend to aim for cardio or more active types of exercise to burn calories. For both men and women, yoga is a perfect complement to almost any sport. Yoga improves flexibility and strength. Despite it not being a significant calorie-burning activity, it can improve core muscles and tone, like few other activities. It also reduces blood pressure, increases libido, aids sleep, makes you stronger against pain, fosters creativity, reduces the risk of strokes and heart disease, improves memory recall, slows ageing, it's another long list.
For men, why not check out Dylan Werner. It will soon make you reconsider if you thought yoga for men was about a few deep breaths to relax. Dylan is an ex-US Marine and wrestler who teaches yoga with a variety of styles, including Yin, Flexibility, Vinyasa, and Strength.
Check out Dylan's extreme beyond balance moves, which are truly inspirational. He also has several guided meditation YouTube videos. So if your man thought that meditation and yoga were for girls, then think again!
For mums, if you're looking for a great online resource, then Yoga with Adrienne is a great place to start. Adrienne is a Yogee and a YouTube star with an online following of over six million subscribers! You can access over 500 of her free videos on YouTube. There are yoga workouts as well as meditation classes you can access. Follow along with Adrienne and do yoga workouts for toning and weight loss, which can make an ideal complement to other cardio exercises you do.
Alternatively, if you still feel you're going it alone with online resources, then you may choose to join a local yoga and meditation class as a beginner. Choose one with great reviews, get inspired, and make new friends.
As soon as you feel a little less like a novice and growing in confidence, then you can gradually begin to teach your kids how to meditate. You can, of course, book your kid's meditation and yoga classes, which are springing up everywhere.
You should be able to see results quickly over time, whether it's flexibility, mindfulness, strength, better sleep, or a happier household.
Make meditation part of your routine. On average, if you do something every day for two months, then it will become automatic. Then you can use meditation as a tool for a whole heap of things. Use meditation to bring focus in the morning for sleepy kids and for relaxation and stress release at bedtime. As well as throughout the day.
There are several resources you can use for kid's meditation here at MFK which will help you to teach your kids how to meditate. There are meditation tracks that are classified for different age groups, for girls, for boys, for bedtime, and more.
Best of luck!