Meditation can be a wonderful tool to help children develop stress management tools early in their life. Tools developed and cultivated in childhood can have a far-reaching effect on their ability to manage stress as adults.
Consider how you learned to manage stress.
If they weren't healthy, consider the example you may be setting for your own children. Are the ways that you handle stress being modeled back to you by children or teens that are experiencing stress of their own? These are all really great things to think about. We may or may not like what we become aware of when we think about it and may even do a bit of a dance with guilt, but the really impressive news is that if the example you are setting is a problem, it is solvable and fixable.
Developing appropriate stress management tools can lead to a much healthier way of life. I love how meditation has had a ripple effect in my own life and the lives of the many veterans, police officers, firefighters, and others that have experienced it, but it is also a valuable tool for children!
About a week ago, I had a very unique opportunity to teach one of my nieces. She saw my beautiful lotus candle holder sitting on my nightstand and asked me about it. She knew that it was a lotus and was compelled to stare at it. I watched her taking in the pretty blue color, as that is her favorite color. She then looked at me and asked me if we could meditate! I tried not to react to enthusiastically, as I wanted to simply honor her request. She sat down on the bed, crossed her legs, held her hands in a mudra, and began saying "OMMMM". I smiled and said, "Where did you learn that?" She said she didn't know but that she does it sometimes when she is in her room because she likes how it makes her feel. How amazing?! I explained to her that the kind of meditation I teach does not require her to do any of those things, but only to sit quietly and comfortably. We sat together on the bed, as I set a timer. I allowed her to choose the "bell" from my meditation timer on my phone. She chose the one she liked and we set it for just five minutes. Five minutes is an appropriate amount of meditation time for an 8 year old. I then talked her through a brief breath awareness and then asked her to choose something for us to focus on. She chose "flowers". We imagined the flower heads resting in the palm of our hands for the duration of the meditation. She opened her eyes slowly and said, "I feel so good!" "I love the way this makes me feel".
This is a child that is known for being exuberant, enthusiastic, rambunctious, and all out lots of fun and excitement 24 hours a day. She connected with a tool that can be a highly valuable resource for her throughout her life. I look forward to the next time she asks to do a meditation with me. She's a very bright young girl with far more wisdom inside of her than she recognizes.
*Photo: Google Images