Can you believe we’re already well into our way of 2021? As many of us are coming up to one entire year living in the time of COVID-19, we’re all still adjusting to the ever-changing ‘new normal’. We’ve been in and out of lock-downs, quarantines and other coming-and-going restrictions, and needless to say its been stressful and we’re all a little stir-crazy wondering when this is going to be over. However, this could also be a time that we teach our children an important life skill that they can take into their adult life. I’m sure by now we have all heard about the numerous positive benefits that taking a moment to sit still and center ourselves can have on the mind, body and spirit such as calming anxiety, relieving stress, and emotional regulation just to name a few. This isn’t just a stressful time for parents, trying to juggle work, in some cases online schooling and running a busy household, our kids are also feeling the effects of trying to adjust to new ways of life during a pandemic.
I’m sure like most parents or caregivers you’ve already been trying to think up at least 5 different activities to keep kids busy even before noon, but have you considered doing the exact opposite? That isn’t to say they won’t be fully immersed and focused, however this will in a very distinct, albeit, quieter way, and that is through meditation for kids.
Not sure where to start? Try out these tips and tricks for getting your kids to slow down, take a moment and breathe.
Make it part of your morning schedule.
Start easy, just 5 minutes!
You can do this first thing when you wake up, in your pajamas and sitting on the bedroom floor, or after breakfast. There are numerous guided mediation videos on YouTube that you can check out on your phone, or simply put on some soft background music and follow these steps.
Have everyone sit in a circle, legs-crossed, eyes open to start. Choose one person to be the leader (they will be the one to lead the first breathing exercise). Start with big, slow, deep breaths. Not too deep to start just a little deeper and slower than what they are use to. Have everyone try to mimic the sounds and timing of the leader’s breath. Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth with a big sigh. Repeat 3 times. Next close your eyes, no peeking! Choose another leader, and after one big deep breath, have that person say ’hum’ or ‘om’ noises while exhaling. Again, have everyone try to keep the same timing as the leader. Repeat 3 times.
Next, have your kids choose an ‘Imagination Station’!
This is like a tv channel playing in your mind. It can be anything you like. Maybe an adventure through space, building sand castles on the beach, or swimming in the ocean alongside some fish. Have the leader choose the imagination station that everyone will watch in their mind. Then sit in silence, eyes closed and have your kids imagine their activity with as many details as possible. What colors do they see? Who else was there with them? What kind of animals or fish are there? What kind of outfit or uniform are they wearing? Have them do this for 1 minute to start and gradually begin increasing the time in the coming days and weeks.
Now, let’s share!
At the end have each person, yourself included, share with one another as many details as possible as to what they saw. Did some of your kids or yourself imagine the same animal, the same friend or relative? Is this is an activity that you would like to do sometime in the future together, even if it is just pretend for the time-being.
When you are done, place your palms together facing each other and and rest your thumbs against your sternum right where your heart is. Next, go around the circle and have each child say what they are grateful for today? It could be the yummy breakfast they just had, the new toy they got, or the special visitor they will see or video chat with.
Get creative, there isn’t a right or wrong way to meditate!
Just taking 5 minutes a day with your kids to practice deep breathing, exercise their imaginations and start their day with a little bit gratitude can drastically change up your mornings and get everyone started on the right foot. These aren’t just life skills for kids, but for all of us who want to practice living in the present moment, regardless of what outside circumstances we may be facing. When everything in your life just feels like, ‘go, go go,’ take a moment to stop, breathe and remember this won’t last forever. We will get through this and we will come out stronger than ever!