Ever wondered if it’s the right thing to teach your kids mindfulness and meditation? We live in a world of distractions whether television, smartphones or gaming machines, is it possible to teach kids meditation?
Children are prone to stress, anxiety and depression as much as adults, but rather than medication shouldn’t we be looking for an alternative as a preventative rather than cure? If you have been recommended that your child should be meditating or looking to address anxiety, then I suggest you read on.
Why Teach Meditation for Kids?
“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken adults.” ~ F. Douglas
Long sessions of meditation often discourages children from repeated sessions of meditation, indeed large gaps between meditation (three days +) often breaks the habit and beneficial effects of meditation. It is essential that the first experiences of meditation are enjoyable for children.
The first step of a meditation practice usually involves the observation of your breathing, the inhalation and exhalation. This step can help your child in mental concentration. Aside from that, this technique can also calm your child, help your child understand themselves better, and how your child’s mind works. Your child can develop their inner strength to help them in choosing the appropriate and right actions over the wrong ones. Anapansati meditation can provide your child with the right tool to face up to anxieties, fears, and childhood pressures.
Anapansati meditation is one of the most popular forms of meditation used in Zen Tianati, Theravada, and Tibetan Buddhism. It was originally taught by Buddha more than 2500 years ago. The original instructions are found in the Anapanasati sutra.
Anapansati Meditation for Kids
In the 6th Century BC, Buddha instructed his followers to go into the forest, sit under a tree, and mindfully observe how the breath flows through the body.
Sit upright, relax your arms, be comfortable and close your eyes.
Begin to focus on your breathing.
You may find that counting your breaths helps you to concentrate. If so, count Breathe in, breathe out, count one. Breathe in, breathe out, count 2 etc.
If you find that you are struggling to concentrate, count your breaths up to ten and then start over
Now think about how your body is moving, can you feel your belly moving in and out, the breath coming in through your nostrils? Keep breathing and relaxing.
You can also count for the entire meditation if you wish, but this is only for beginners.
Once your mind is fully focused, maintain that focus for a minimum of five minutes. After this, you may wish to adapt your technique depending on your reason for practising.
Ideally, the first meditation for kids sessions need to be ten to fifteen minutes including the initial settling down times. Over a period of time, sneak up the time spent meditating – and usually, the children never notice!
What Happens Next…is Amazing
The above, simple meditation is a gateway into future meditation exercises, you can expect that your child will gain an interest in meditation, self introspection as well as changes in their behaviour and thought process. This can also help in opening a new dimension in their life that will be of great value in the future and may be one that they can use for as long as they live.
Your child will truly become a much better person. Through Anapansati meditation, your child’s mind will be stronger, and he/she will avoid saying or doing things that are harmful and hurtful to other people. If your child possesses mind’s strength, then he or she will be more peaceful and will feel happier.
Anapana meditation is a very good foundation for your child and it is a technique also engages participation from all the family. Do provide proper support for your child so that he/she can learn easily.
“Children learn and listen more willingly when they are met with kindness, empathy and patience; when their core need for connection or attachment is met.” ~ Vince Gowmon