Since time immemorial, meditation has mainly been a preserve of adults. However, this trend is changing as there has been an increasing interest of the practice by young children. It is believed that if it is introduced in the early stages of a child’s development, meditation can have far-reaching benefits than when adopted in adulthood.
Meditation was originally meant to nurture a person’s spiritual well-being, but the modern generation is largely interested in its relaxation and stress-busting benefits. If children start meditating early, their brains and intellectual capacity tend to develop rapidly. They also stand to benefit emotionally, psychologically and physically.
Meditation is an excellent way to unwind after an eventful day. Life can at times be stressful, triggered by various factors such as work, family and life in general. Our children are not immune to stress either; they also undergo quite considerable amounts of stress on a daily basis. School-based assignments, feuds between their parents and other factors can contribute to stress. If your child is stressed and you don’t know where to start, learn how to manage stress through meditation.
The Right Age
Parents who wish to teach their children about the art of meditation often wonder what the ideal age to begin the process is. Basically, there is no best age to start meditation. In fact, the earlier, the better. The first two years of a child consist of transition from the state of the womb to the real world. At this stage, the mother has a huge influence to the child. The baby is likely to adopt his or her mother’s characteristics. Thus, the mother can introduce meditation at this stage so as to shape the child’s personality and kick off intuition.
Introducing Elements of Meditation to your Child
Before you begin the meditation sessions, it is important to let your kid know what exactly they will be involved in, what is expected of them and basically why they have to be in a quiet place not even allowed to shout as much as they would love to i.e. introducing the elements of meditation.
An Open Attitude
There should be a willingness to learn as meditation needs a lot of commitment. This is hard to achieve from a child. Nonetheless, you need to explain the fact to the kid in a way he or she will understand. He or she has to learn how to block distractions during a meditation session in order to fully benefit from it.
A Quiet Setting
The child has to instinctively know that when it is the time for meditation session, everything else has to take a back seat. The room should have as fewer distractions as possible. The child should be made to understand why there will be no shouting, running around, crying or doing anything else apart from what he is told to.
The child must be taught how to focus his attention on something specific as per the instructor’s guidance. This specific item might be a set of words or even an object. If any distractions interrupt the process, the child should be taught how to regain his or her concentration.
A Relaxed Posture
During meditation, there is a number of positions which a person should try out for favorable results. Such postures include sitting, standing or even lying down on the back. The key here is that the posture should be as relaxing as possible
How to Start the Process
Feeling Their Breath
The breath is the key starting point in a meditation session. For starters, it is very important for a child to learn how to feel his breath. The child should feel the movements of his chest as he breathes in and out. The session should be conducted in a quiet place. With lots of practice, the child will learn how to focus and slowly waft away into a spiritual state of higher consciousness.
Teach Them to Let Go
For children, it is not easy to concentrate and let go in a meditation session. Unless they are willing to, it is hard to force them do it. However, with persistence and lots of patience, a parent or an instructor can teach the child how to go about it.
Being creative helps here. A parent should know what a child likes and use it to win his attention. Create a fairy tale that is captivating enough to sway them to the world of your creation, a world they identify with. Draw their curiosity and once you have them where you want, have them join in the tale and share their imaginations. You will also learn a lot about your kid’s thoughts from this.
Never set a goal when teaching children meditation. Just guide them and let them be guided by their own energy towards establishing their own balances. Only interfere by guiding them to gain control over their feelings when they become restless.
Be a Part of the Process
Join them, the best lessons are taught with illustration. When you tell them to relax, relax as well. Doing meditation together will be very helpful for your family as you will all be healthier, relaxed and focused as a family.
Should Meditation be Taught in School?
A big yes! On average a person spends about twenty years of the formative stages of his life in school. These years shape the person’s perspectives towards life and determine his or her future life. Meditation is all about learning about our mind and how it works.
Therefore, this makes such a time the best to teach someone the art of meditation. However, this is not the case in our schools. Teaching meditation in schools will help pupils and students know how to manage stress such as exam stress, concentrate and establish clarity of the mind. It also helps cope with other pressures such as violence at home well as helping them appreciate life in general.
Benefits of Meditation to Children
Children stand to gain a lot from meditation. If started early, the kids will have more to gain as they grow and later in their adult life. The benefits come in many forms; they vary from psychological, spiritual, and physical to emotional. Below is a list and brief explanation of each.
Psychological Benefits to Children
- Improved memory
Meditation helps a child remember things more clearly. If started early, this will help them improve their grades in school.
- Greater creativity
Due to focused attention, the children are able to explore their minds and formulate ideas. At childhood, that is when one’s creativity is at peak. What kids lack is focused attention which meditation helps to solve. With meditation, the child is now able to focus on his ideas which you can help him or her materialize. This course specifically helps you learn how to focus during meditation, something you can teach your kid how to do so.
- Reduced anxiety
With meditation, the child worries less and is calmer in stressful situations
- Prevents Addictions
Teaching your child to be more conscious of his or her mind will help prevent them from indulging in addictive activities such as smoking and pornography.
With continuous practice, the child is able to become more intuitive.
- Greater sense of the purpose to live.
- A feeling of connection to other people and the environment.
- Ability to let go and let nature take its course.
- Mindfulness of being present and concentrating on the body
- Better immune system
Research shows that the people who meditate have lesser chances of suffering from high blood pressure, stroke and heart attacks. Children will grow up healthier and stronger.
- Relaxed muscles
Mediation helps one relax not only his or her mind but also the muscles. This will reduce muscular tension leading to a more relaxed growth.
- Reduced pain
The calm that comes with meditation helps reduce strain related pain like headache.
- Better sleep
The relaxing effect of meditation will help your kids sleep more soundly and luxuriously. Good sleep will further enhance their concentration.
In addition to the above benefits, meditation is good for emotional well-being.
- Greater ability to love and be loved
Meditation helps children appreciate their surroundings; they are able to show more affectionate feelings towards others. People tend to respond in kind, something that will help your child develop a healthy self-esteem
- More confidence
Ability to calm their minds will help them face issues more confidently, whether it is that bully at school or that girl they really want to approach.
- Positive Attitude
Generally, meditation helps the child project a positive outlook towards life.
Meditation is all about understanding and following your path. When the child starts to follow his or her own path, he or she is happier and more fulfilled.
Meditation and Technology
Many people argue that meditation has no place in today’s tech age. Many see meditation as an ancient activity that is long past its time. However, it has been established that, both can co-exist; actually technology can complement meditation.
Software developers have even come up with software that helps beginners; it gives a step by step tutorial. This means, you can learn meditation from the comfort of your home. Technology can also come in handy when children are involved. There are many sites online where you can access videos illustrating how mediation is taught and watch them together with your child.