Creating a Family Meditation Practice
Don’t we all want less stress in our lives? Our children are no exception. Our quest for less stress and more peace is universal. Including your children in a meditation practice can improve inner peace, concentration, and confidence.
How to create a meditation routine for your family?
Meditating with your children on a regular basis can be difficult if you do not supply a routine and some variation. A child’s mind and even ours thrive on habit or routine. While we tend to choose one thing we like best a child’s mind is discovering what it likes and doesn’t like. While I recommend mediating at approximately the same time each day (setting a routine), a new activity holds a child’s excitement. You know your child better than anyone else, so begin with a practice you believe they would enjoy the most.
Incorporating Technology into Your Mindfulness Practice
These tips are for the children who are technologically minded or live in climates that experience extreme cold, where outside time is limited.
Cell Phone Timer
Allow the child to set the timer on your phone. He or she should meditate for one minute for each year of their age. For example, set the timer for three minutes for a 3-year-old. Ask the child if they would like to play a game on your phone when the alarm sounds. Be sure to ask this with excitement! When they reply yes, tell them the only rule is to be quiet until they hear the phone.
Close your eyes as you sit with them. This encourages the child to do the same without adding another rule or demand. If they choose to leave their eyes open this is okay too. This meditation is only to encourage stillness.
Coloring is one form of active meditation. The movement in coloring is slow, focused, and provides enough concentration to reduce random thoughts outside of the project at hand.
If your child wants to talk a lot during color time, reward them for their quiet time attempts. Reassure them you’re looking forward to hearing all about their creation once the quiet time ends.
Pay attention to the colors your child chooses. Do they tend to use the same two or three? A good discussion to incorporate into coloring meditation practice is how the colors align with the Chakras.
You can use this book: My Body is a Rainbow: A Book About Our Chakras
Humans are naturally drawn to the elements that surround us. Our mind and body is constructed of these same elements, stimulating an authentic connection. Here are a few ideas to incorporate each element in your child’s life.
Fire: Build a backyard bonfire, use the indoor fireplace, or watch a lit candle. Staring at flames is a visual way to focus the mind.
Water: If outdoor water is not easily available to add a small indoor fountain to your home, sit the child in the bathtub or bathroom and turn the shower on an easy flow watching and listening together, or have him or her sit calmly in a warm bath before beginning regular bath time rituals.
Earth: Dig up some worms just to watch them, observe the veins or growth of a plant, or lay on the ground in silence and ask the child to pretend to be an ant.
Air: Spend time in silence watching clouds, trees, and airplanes. You could try a game where the child pretends or imagines himself or herself as a silent drone.
Space: Explore the amazing visual stimulation of the night, and seek out planets, stars, and the moon. Have your child name the planet or constellation.
A kaleidoscope is a cylinder with mirrors containing loose, colored objects such as beads, pebbles, or bits of glass. The traditional kaleidoscope is turned manually, but in today’s age of technology, you may also change your kaleidoscope experience by watching a video. Youtube offers such videos in various play times.
Tibetan Singing Bowl
Singing bowls are used for sound healing. These bowls are extremely relaxing to listen to or play. Encourage the child to take turns between the two of you playing, while the other listens. If you’re not sure how to play the bowl, ask where you make your purchase. You can also find tutorials online.
Floating in a Pool or Water
Floating in water can be meditative as well as turned into a game. Time your child, encouraging longer float times and relaxation. For your own downtime, ask the child to silently count as you float. This is great at bath time or if you have a pool outside.
Guide your child in a relaxing adventure. Use the characters, visuals, and experiences you feel they would enjoy. This does not have to correlate with what adults are accustomed to. A child will stay interested in your voice much longer if you spin a tale about Batman or my son’s favorite (Paw Patrol), not water flowing. Remember to speak softly and slightly slower than you typically speak.
Making a beaded necklace or bracelet is meditative and can also make the child feel accomplished. Give these pieces of beaded art away as gifts. This practice of creating and then giving teaches the child how to show love while practicing the universal law of giving and receiving.
Choose a place in the home where it would be okay for a puzzle to stay out for a few days. The last thing we want is any stress around your various meditative techniques. Stress about an unfinished puzzle on the kitchen table must be avoided.
If your child is new to puzzles start with a smaller and easier option. Not all children like puzzles; test it out before jumping into a large piece. If puzzles are enjoyed, this is a great way for the family to enjoy a movement meditation together.
If pets are a part of your family, set aside some time to pet them in silence. If you don’t own a pet, watch animals in nature, visit a petting zoo, or perhaps a family friend who has access to animals.
Explore different types of animal species. You may prefer dogs; this does not mean this is your child’s favorite. Volunteering at animal shelters or becoming an animal foster parent can be great options as well.
Enjoy Exploring Meditation Techniques
Enjoy exploring these meditation techniques. After each meditation session, try to discuss this experience with your child. Ask them what they saw, felt, and heard. Most importantly, don’t push or get frustrated. If they talk too much, that’s okay. If they’re not into the experience one day, that’s okay too.
Keep it Fun!
If you make it feel like a chore, they will pull away. Instead, let them go at their pace. You should act as a guide only. Initiate conversation on the topic of meditation, and let them know that all of these activities are a form of the practice. Eventually, your child might use one of these meditative tools when he or she gets upset.
LET US KNOW
Do you wonder how much easier life would have been if you had learned mindfulness skills as a child? Using these techniques with your child is changing their lives in the best way, by teaching them mindfulness and compassion, you are setting them up for success no matter what crosses their path. What do you think about using mindfulness techniques with your children? What do you think of the techniques we shared today? Let us know in the comments. Are you attempting mindfulness with your kids? Snap a photo and Tag us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag- #mindfulnessmonday
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