Techniques to Bring Meditation Closer to Children
We often think that meditation techniques are something for adults because they’re complex and require discipline. In addition, we assume that minors don’t need these types of tools, since their life is apparently simpler. The reality is that if we bring meditation closer to children from a young age, it will help them integrate this practice into their routine and it will provide great benefits.
Meditating shouldn’t be difficult or tedious because it’s basically about reaching a state of deep relaxation, calm, and well-being, focusing on the present. Putting it into words may sound impossible to achieve in children, who are restless and eager for stimuli. However, there are several ways in which we can adapt this beneficial practice for the little ones.
Benefits of meditation in children
Meditation is a habit that helps regulate our emotional state. It supports a general sense of calm and reduces anxiety. Moreover, it enhances the ability to respond appropriately to adverse situations.
At their own level, infants also have to deal with emotions such as fear, sadness, anger, or frustration. Practicing meditation regularly will make it easier for them to get in touch with their emotions, become familiar with them, and learn to handle them in a more conscious and less impulsive way.
Techniques to bring meditation closer to children
Breath, music, and gratitude
If there’s one essential element in meditation, it’s breathing. Breathing properly can mean the difference between a state of anxiety and one of tranquility. Therefore, the main thing is to teach children to take deep and diaphragmatic breaths.
For this, we have to encourage them to bring air to the lower part of their lungs, making the abdomen rise and fall to the rhythm of breathing. Additionally, this has to follow a certain cadence; inhaling for three seconds, holding the air for three seconds, and slowly exhaling for another three seconds.
If we accompany this simple exercise with melodic and calming music in the background, we’ll achieve the desired state of tranquility and presence.
Meditation can also be useful for regulating nervousness or inducing sleep at night. Moreover, it’s possible to use it to start the day in a positive mood. To do this, every morning take a few minutes to breathe deeply with your child and be thankful for something that makes you happy.
We can’t pretend that small children will sit in silence for half an hour with their eyes closed. Before long, they’ll get bored and end up seeing meditation as tedious. However, we can use guided meditations to arouse their interest or curiosity.
This involves having children listen to a story or tale being narrated while they relax and breathe. The story will take them through various situations and emotions with the help of the characters and the scenarios they go through.
As children get older, we can begin to introduce them to the habit of focusing on their bodily reactions, recognizing them, and modifying them to manage their anxiety. The Koeppen technique may be appropriate in the early years as it facilitates exercise with fun mental pictures and games.
Nonetheless, later on, the children will be able to gain a better awareness of the purpose of meditations and perform them without the need for games.
Other alternatives to bring meditation closer to children
When selecting the most appropriate technique to start meditating with our children, we must forget certain prejudices. Meditating isn’t just about sitting cross-legged and being silent. Any activity that helps us connect with ourselves, with our environment, and with the present will be beneficial.
So, if your child prefers more active options, you can choose to take walks in nature, focusing attention on what you perceive: colors, smells, sounds, the breeze… You can also encourage children to sing a song that contains positive messages that they like, trying to be in tune.
You can also propose to make a painting in which they can express themselves freely. Any activity that helps children focus on the present and their feelings will be positive.