Well, the short answer is that meditation for kids can help to:
- Relieve school work pressure
- Deal with parental separation
- Improve friendships
- Understand others points of view (including parents!)
- Improve focus and concentration
- Understand their emotions as they grow
- Have more fun and enjoyment
- …and much more!
Adults begin meditation usually because of external triggers, the most common probably being stress. Of course there are many reasons, including curiosity, the search for spirituality, health and healing, but negative stress and the need for mental and physical relaxation is probably the biggest draw. We need to “go inside” and learn new ways of coping and seeing the world.
Learning Meditation Early On
Meditation for kids is common in Eastern cultures. If you were taught meditation during childhood however, can you imagine how differently you would have dealt with childhood experiences? Can you imagine the different choices you would have made? How it would feel to have had feelings of peace and contentment for most of your life? Would you have chosen a different career? A different partner? A different place to live?
Meditation for kids can help deal with the inevitable transition from childhood into adulthood more positively, and to grow healthy emotionally, mentally and physically. It can help them to manage and make sense of their emotions and situations, and hopefully, as they grow, it can also help them to hold on to their “inner child” too – that part of us that enjoys life to the full, remains constantly curious about the world, and has a wild imagination. It was Einstein who said “Imagination is more important than knowledge!”
The famous film director David Lynch set up a foundation in 2005 with the aim of bringing meditation to one million children worldwide, and having one class period every day devoted to meditation. Certainly an interesting (and revolutionary) idea. He believes that making meditation for kids a standard part of every school’s curriculum is “not as a luxury but a necessity”.
Also, the Dalai Lama said “If we we to teach every child to focus on compassion for one hour, once a week, we could end all violence in one generation”. He has even personally donated money to the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, which has since produced a huge wealth of scientific data showing that consciousness-based education, and quiet time at the beginning and end of the school day, improves academic performance and leads to happier and healthier young people at home.
The Dalai Lama says: “It is important to make the child realize that if he loses his temper, he will suffer. If he is able to be more compassionate, he will feel more joy even while playing. If you smile, life becomes sweeter. After all, if I smile at you, you will smile back!”
What Does Meditation For Kids Look Like?
Well, in today’s world of fast entertainment and instant access to hundreds of thousands of videos of cute animals on YouTube, getting kids to sit even for a few minutes can be extremely challenging! This may be possible, but the most important thing to remember here is the essence of meditation: to focus on one thing or idea, and to think about it.
So don’t think you need to force them to sit with you; instead, just be with them where they are…
Meditation for kids could simply be looking at the clouds or stars in the sky, looking at the ants and butterflies, the spiders spinning their webs, the cat stretching as he sleeps, and helping them to appreciate and respect life.
You could set them an activity, perhaps writing ‘CALM’ in big colourful letters, and then writing everything that makes them feel calm and relaxed.
You could read them a guided meditation for kids just before bedtime instead of regular books or watching junk tv. RelaxKids have a very nice range of books and CDs with short meditations that work really well.
But perhaps the biggest benefit for them is the change that take place within YOU as a result of YOUR meditation… a calmer, more relaxed, more positive, more patient, more appreciative, more peaceful parent.
I hope you feel encouraged to start your kids meditating! And please do email me at Lee@Total-Meditation.com if you have any questions.