If I had a dime for each time a mother used this phrase … well, you know how this goes. But the truth is, it’s a little unreasonable to expect children in this day and age of televisions, iPods, mobile phones and constant stimulation to sit still, to calm down or to relax and focus their minds, unless we take the time to teach them how to do so. We, as parents must take the time to give them the tools to learn to deal with stress, anxiety and general hustle and bustle of everyday life. The good news is that children make the very best students and teaching them how to relax and meditate is really quite simple. And things we are taught as children often become well practiced habits as adults.
Meditation is the art of learning to relax, learning to quiet the mind and learning to focus or empty the mind of thought, depending on what type of meditation is practiced. In its simplest form, meditation is simply learning to relax and there are a number of techniques and courses that can teach you how to meditate. How to Meditate with Surprising Ease will teach you a few simple techniques that you can use to reach a state of meditation and this course is suitable for all ages.
But meditation is not only about the ability to relax and focus and thus deal with anxiety or stress. Meditation has been shown to offer a number of other important health benefits too. In a recent study published in the Journal of Global Health, researchers found that the practice of Maum meditation by primary school children showed positive effects on self esteem and school adjustment. Other studies done on meditation conclude that meditation helps to improve the symptoms of ADHD and improve concentration.
But how do you teach children to meditate? The answer depends on the child’s age and abilities to begin with but here are some ideas of how to teach children to meditate.
Yoga and meditation
One way to teach children to meditate is to involve them in a children’s yoga class. Meditation is taught as part of the practice of Yoga as well as various breathing techniques. There are yoga classes specifically designed for children and Yoga also helps to regulate metabolism and aids weight loss. You could sign up now for A basic introduction to a fun yoga class for Kids to learn to teach your children the art of yoga and meditation.
Yoga and meditation can help with asthma and is extremely beneficial for children. Yoga for Kids: 5 Benefits and Asanas illustrates five postures and how they can benefit your children including improved mental focus, posture, flexibility and peacefulness and Yoga Poses for Kids shows you ten poses suitable for kids that the whole family can enjoy together.
Teach by example
Children are amazing emulators. By practicing yoga yourself, your child will most likely become curious and join in. Children also tend to pick up the energy around them, so learning to relax and meditate will help create a calm relaxed atmosphere for your children which in turn will help you to teach them to meditate. If you take a course like Yoga & Meditation for Everyone and practice daily, your children will be more open to practicing with you and learning from you.
Take it slow
Start teaching children to relax and focus for a small amount of time each day. You can use exercises like lying on the grass watching the clouds, as a way to start teaching them to learn to focus and meditate. You could start by pointing out shapes. Ask them to identify shapes they see. Progress by asking them to find specific shapes in the clouds because this takes a little longer. Ask them to tell a story about the clouds as this requires imagination and concentration. These exercises or games will help them to relax, focus their concentration and develop their imagination.
Another great exercise to engage children in meditation and relaxation is to use bells or different tones. Get the children to sit on the floor, legs crossed and close their eyes. Ask them to listen to the sound of each bell or chime. When they hear the sound they can raise their hands. Allow a little more time between chimes. Once they have learned to listen in silence for a while and focus, ask them to concentrate on the ambient sounds they can hear: sounds from the street or from the world around them. This exercise will teach them to concentrate and focus.
Teach them to breathe
Breath plays an important role in relaxation. Breathing out through the nose slowly causes the body to absorb more oxygen and has also been shown to increase a feeling of relaxation and well being. Nose breathing has also been shown to increase the amount of serotonin, the “feel good” hormone so nose breathing and meditation can really help to fight depression.
Once again, teaching children to breathe effectively can start out as a game. Have your children inhale slowly through the nose for five counts, using fingers to count, and then exhale slowly for five counts. Repeat this process a few times. This breathing pattern automatically causes a person to relax. In fact, in your next heated argument, why not try it yourself. More oxygen to the brain means better thought and better arguments and it will calm you down in the process too.
We should all meditate
Meditation offers enormous health benefits. We should all learn to relax and focus because as our technology increases, so our world becomes busier and busier. Meditation does not require that you become a yogi and sit on top of some mountain somewhere. You can sign up for this simple course to learn the Art of Relaxation now and learn simple skills to guide yourself into a state of deep relaxation irrespective of what’s happening around you.