Meditation Works for Everyone
Mindfulness is good for parenting. It helps us be more present with our kids, which helps us deal with problems with effectiveness and compassion when they arise.
Mindfulness is good for kids too.
It can help kids with attention problems and with maintaining calmness.
I lead children’s meditation at the Rime Center in Kansas City every Sunday.
People ask me sometimes how I do it. Before I took over the children’s program, they didn’t meditate. I wanted to figure out how to get the children to meditate, so I did.
Be the Example
The first thing you have to know is that you have to meditate. I’ve found that parents that don’t meditate have kids that don’t meditate. If kids see their parents meditate, it sometimes makes them want to take up the practice.
Also, you have to have patience. Kids have trouble meditating, just like adults do. We can’t just assume that once our kids start practicing mindfulness they’ll be able to become calm at will.
Things will get better in a lot of areas, but we have to manage our expectations.
Our real purpose is to increase awareness, so things like increased calm are side effects.
Also, we can’t force kids to meditate. If they don’t want to do it, they aren’t going to.
How to Introduce Kids to Meditation
Now, here is a list of ways to introduce mindfulness to children.
1. Simplicity is important.
There are very detailed ways to describe meditation. We don’t want to use those. We want to tell kids to count their breath and notice how they feel.
More information than that isn’t really helpful.
2. Use a sound.
This can a chant right before meditation or ringing a bell. This serves to separate the activity of meditation from what we were doing before. It makes it special.
I tell adults the same thing. Make meditation a part of your daily routine and then it will be easy to keep it up.
It helps for kids to either meditate right before they go to school or right before bed.
4. Mindful walking.
When you have to walk with the kids, even if it’s just from home to the car, practice mindful walking.
Encourage the kids to walk without talking, to just listen to what they hear.
5. Meditate together.
Don’t ask your kids to do it if you won’t do it with them. Grab your cushions and sit down and meditate together.
Asking them to do it by themselves can often cause them to be distracted because they’ll be wondering what you’re doing instead of sitting with them.
This is great because there is a real sense of accomplishment you will get when you meditate with your kids.