Life is busy. We’re always running around trying to achieve our dreams all while trying to complete our daily tasks. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. You may have already tried or regularly practice mindfulness meditation, but have you tried with your family?
Getting your children into meditation from a young age can be hugely beneficial to their development, especially if they can master the techniques before reaching the most stressful times in their lives. As the topic of conversation, I regularly hear people say that their children would probably be unable to meditation.
‘My children are too restless’ or ‘They can’t become present because their minds are too active’ are typical answers. However, it’s worth remembering that children look up to their parents and will naturally mimic what they are doing.
That means even children as young as 3-4-years-old would be able to sit and meditate next to their parents. This is the first step in developing a proper meditation routine.
If this seems like something you would be interested in teaching your child, here are a few ways you can get started.
Give Your Children an Example
Most children at a young age are visual learners. They’ll see what their parents are doing and they’ll copy it. Invite your children to join you during your meditation sessions. For the most part, they’ll probably think of it as a game. They may try and sit next to you, on you or even will just run around the room.
However, by showing your children what a meditative state looks like is the first step towards them developing their own meditation routine.
Develop a Routine
Children thrive when they live in a routine. Mornings are easily the best time to meditation and will provide the most benefits so try it then. Your children will normally be well-rested so they’ll be very engaged in the activity.
Try to work the sessions into your regular routine. For example, your children could wake up, go to the toilet, come downstairs, meditate for ten minutes with you and then start their day how they normally would. That’s really all it takes to develop a routine.
Create a Meditation Space
Another great way to introduce children to meditation is dedicating a certain space in your home to do so. It doesn’t have to be massive but if you’ve got a spare room or space, this would be ideal. It could even be a corner of your home or a space that you transform especially for meditation.
For example, if you wake up before your children do, set up mats or cushions as the first thing you do. Then, when your children are away, meditate with them, put the meditation things away and carry on with your day.
The way that children respond to music is incredible. In most cases, sitting in silence may put some children off the idea of meditation. Fortunately, there is a tonne of meditative music options you have available.
From meditation apps to YouTube videos, you can easily find one that works for you. As a rule of thumb, look for music tracks that match the length of your sessions and provide a relaxed and calming environment.
Don’t Pressure Your Children
It’s easy to get frustrating by wanting your children to pick up how to meditate quickly. However, there’s no need to rush as your child will get there in their own time.
You’ll need to be patient when teaching them that distractions, such as a phone ringing or people walking in the street, can just be ignored. Learn to embrace the distractions and simply dismiss them, much like you would yourself.
Don’t Give Up
It could take months for your child to pick up a meditative practice that suits them. However, just like if you were training for a marathon, it’s important that you don’t give up. You may find that your child has a particularly poor experience one day and claims that they never ever want to do it again.
If this is the case, simply continue to meditate yourself during the same time, following the same routine. Keep the door open for your child to enter at their own will. They can decide when to join you in your own time.