Everyone loves the idea of living a stress free life. When I refer to everyone, this includes children. Teaching children meditation is something that is becoming wide spread across the country. Children show improvement in concentration, confidence, problem solving and coping skills.
Today children have a tremendous amount of information. The news is graphic. Schools all over the world report a rise in bullying in schools and cyber bullying online. Statistics collected by National Association of School Psychologist and various mental health agencies all indicate as children appear to be experiencing more stress and anxiety in their daily lives, mental health services and programs are experiencing severe cuts and decreases in their resources and ability to serve as many children and families.
Meditation is a tool that benefits both you and your children. There is no financial cost to learning it or teaching it to your children. You only have to decide it is something you would like to do and then set a time that you do it each day.
Research has shown that mediation is a technique that has tremendous benefits for everyone, when they do it everyday. There are long lists of documented benefits are in several areas. Below are just a few that are helpful for many people.
1- Decreases anxiety and impulsivity
2- Improves self-esteem and confidence
3- Decreases risk behaviors such as trying drugs and alcohol
4- Increases positive social connections
5- Improves mood and overall intellectual functioning
Biology and Brain Function
1- Increases memory retention and recall
2- Improves overall cognition
3- Improves Creative Thinking
4- Improves attention and focus
5- Lowers blood pressure
6- Helps reduce anxiety, depression and pain
The impact of having mediation in your daily routine is a positive one in mind, body and soul. Five years ago I began teaching meditation to children with attention difficulties as well as children with anxiety. The results are incredible. This year I began doing mediation with families. This too has been an incredible experience.
Teaching children meditation is easy. Children try something and if it feels good, they know it and choose it again. However, meditating with children each day requires a bit of a different approach than you may do in your meditation as an adult. Children are always in this beautiful state of wonder. They are curious and they learn quickly. If you would like to introduce your children to meditation you are going to have to use some techniques to help keep it interesting and fun.
Three Tips for Teaching Children
TIME. Adults who practice daily meditation tend to have a routine that is approximately 20 minutes in length. Children should have a routine that lasts in minutes the same amount of time as their age. If they are five years old, the meditation may be only five minutes long.
FUN. There is no need to define or describe what meditation is or feels like to a little one. Invite them into a game. Lets sit with our eyes closed and count our breaths in and out. Ask them to listen for the timer on the cell phone to go off. When it goes off they can take the phone and play a game. The activity is quick, the counting allows them to be present. You cannot allow external stimuli in if your eyes are closed and you are counting. The alarm ringing is fun and the technology time is usually rewarding.
At a young age the meditation is helping with stillness and focus. As children grow you can add deliberate breathing, and reflect how they feel while they are still during the time you are meditating together. Children quickly recognize they feel better. They will even begin to choose to do it when they feel they need to calm down or focus.
FOCUS. A large part of mediation is focus. Focus and be present. This means stopping the random thoughts that take over in your mind and distract you. To help children learn this you can provide them a point of focus. They can count the tick-tock of a clock and you both can see when the time is up if you get the same number. You start the clock and set an alarm. When the alarm buzzes you state how many tick- tocks you heard. Listening for a sound and counting is one way to train the mind to focus, and force the mind to be present, and be still. It is a wonderful, fun way to begin learning meditation.
If you would like to learn more about mediation you can look at Tapping In our 21 Day Mediation Program. The program is deigned for beginners and experts. You can connect with like minded people and see progress towards your current life goals.