Understanding and Integrating Childrens Meditation
All forms of meditation fall into two basic categories. There is the mindfulness meditation form and then mind-focused meditations. These two techniques are opposite ends of the meditation spectrum.
Mindfulness meditation is the practice of clearing the mind, becoming the witness, and transcending the mind. Examples of this type of meditation are Buddhist meditation and TM meditation. Mind-focused meditation is the practice of using the mind as a tool for self improvement and connecting within. You are practicing this form of meditation when you engage in creative visualization, guided imagery and breathing exercises. Mind focused meditations are best suited for children because they allow the child to practice a quieting of the mind through focused concentration and bodily relaxation.
As parents, we can share the practice of meditation with our children starting at a young age, usually beginning at age 4. This encourages children to use the power of their mind and find refuge from their busy world. This continued practice will enable your little one to make meditation an integral and natural part of their everyday life even on throughout adulthood.
Why is meditation so important in our lives? Children are constantly exposed to violent media, peer pressures, billboards, subliminal sexual images and commentary, noise pollution, air pollution, chemical products, unhealthy chemical-laden foods and school deadlines, all which create stresses upon the body and mind. Meditating is an important practice to keep children balanced and able to fend off the stress. Going within to the still and quiet found there, children are nourished with a healthy sense of self, thus improving self-esteem. Children gain a sense of personal power and the ability to stand up for themselves in all situations. They can experience detachment from an otherwise chaotic world swirling with must-haves, must-do and shoulds. Creating that space for our children to experience relaxation and improved self esteem helps elevate feelings of joy and happiness and an inner knowing that they can indeed accomplish anything they set their mind too.
How can you integrate meditation on a daily basis? It is easy to begin with five minutes of relaxation at bed time. You can read from some free kids meditations offered online or you can make up your own. Using your own imagination and ingenuity, create a short bedtime relaxation session by asking your child to imagine a sun right above his head, melting away any stress or worries.. allowing his body to become very relaxed and calm. Continue with the details of waves of relaxation coming into the top of the head and continuing down the body to touch and relax every muscle and body part. Children find this extremely relaxing and comforting. It also helps build a close family bond by spending extra time with your child relaxing and enjoying the moment. Teach your child to count down from ten to one and relax further as he counts, allowing all worries to dissolve away. Bring an animal friend into your scenario or a loving cloud your child can snuggle up in. Help your child release stress by blowing the stress into a nearby balloon and watching stress and worries POP, one by one. There are never-ending possibilities to your stories. Your own vivid imagination makes the possibilities limitless.
This focused concentration helps children in a variety of ways. Children are able to concentrate better, they feel more balanced in their everyday lives, they are calmer and more at ease. If we do not teach our children meditation and relaxation, they become a bundle of nervous, unhappy energy. Kids desperately need an outlet for their stresses. 69% of children under the age of 10 experience sleep problems and 76% of school-aged children worry. As responsible aware parents, we can provide tools like this for our children to help realize their full potential in life. Happy Meditating my friends!
By: Mellisa Dormoy
Mellisa Dormoy specializes in creative visualization and self esteem for kids and teens. She has a passion for helping parents find true freedom and bliss in raising happy, healthy, self-confident children. She is the founder of ShambalaKids and Teens Relaxation CDs, offering tools for children and teens to realize their full potential.
Mellisa believes that self esteem starts at home. She blogs at UnpluggedParenting.net and you can also hear her on Unplugged Educators Radio.