Many parents tell us that they don’t know where to start when it comes to teaching their children meditation.
Our advice here is simple : Just start. Be curious. Usually, you will be pleasantly surprised at how open your child is to learning. The hardest part of introducing new routines in our children’s lives is initiating the new practice.
We have these steps to be effective when encouraging children to meditate :
1. Communicate with your child about meditation in general.
Explain to them what it is and what some of the benefits can be. Here is an example script to start with. Of course modify as it fits your child and family :
“Meditation is a practice that many people do. It’s open to everyone. It’s a way that we can help ourselves feel more relaxed and open. It’s a way for us to feel connected and experience peace. Do you know what peace is? Peace is a feeling, deep inside, that is trusting and calm.
Would you like to try and feel peace? Wouldn’t that be nice? Let’s give it a try and see what else we might discover!”
2. Nurture Their Curiosity.
Children are naturally curious. When we make them do meditation, we will find resistance or hesitation come up more quickly. But if you present it to them as an adventure—a way to discover more about themselves and their mind, body, and heart—it sparks their natural curiosity. Present it to them as a choice rather than a chore.
3. Make it magical.
One great way to entice children to meditate is to create a special meditation corner just for them. Help them to make it super special, with lights or images or drawings. Find a special chair or cushion that is only theirs. This helps them to feel more excited, as if meditation can be their “secret” — something special that they do in their special place.
4. Engage the imagination.
Children are very connected to nature so we love meditations that use elements of nature to support their practice. In our WeeWonna Talk Podcast, Episode 6, we use the rain to help “wash away” any stress or worry from our mind, heart and body before starting something new. Engaging their imagination helps them to stay attentive and also teaches them the power and magic of their mind.
5. Practice with them.
Special time with mommy or daddy or grandpa or auntie means so much to a child. We know this. Invite them to practice with you. Set up a space where you can meditate together and share experiences after. Come up with a fun or secret name for your meditation time . . . so they look forward to it on a regular basis.
It takes time for children to adapt to new things but often, as parents or caregivers, we don’t give them the credit they deserve. Helping to set up fun and imaginative environments, talking to them about meditation on a regular basis, and encouraging curiosity are great places to start.
And the benefits of meditation for children are many and backed by research. So it’s definitely worth a try. Meditation has been shown, in young children, to improve many indicators of psychological well-being and helped to reduce attention problems. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4894866/
Here are some studies that have been done, if you’d like to explore and know more.
- Reducing Anxiety Symptoms
- Increasing Self-Compassion and Mindfulness Skills
- Improving Attention, Social Skills and Social Behavior
- Reducing ADHD Symptoms
One of our objectives at WeeWoo is to help make it easier for children to explore the benefits of meditation and mindfulness-based practices. So, start with our podcast meditation and there will be many more audio meditations for children to come.