In our overstimulated world of electronics and always-on-the-go lifestyle, you're lucky if you can get your kid to sit still and be focused for five seconds. In turn, children are becoming less attentive, showing increased anxiety, less empathy towards their peers and hyperactive tendencies.
Cultivating mindfulness in children can fend off these issues, as well as depression and anxiety—without medication—while building self-confidence and focus. Meditation is the perfect solution.
Start with these five tips to build a meditation practice for your child and yourself.
Be a Role Model1 of 6
The easiest way to get your child to meditate is to do it with them. If your child sees you sitting in silence, they'll be more likely to join you. Just imagine that sweet, sweet silence.
It can be as simple as sitting together in silence, readying the body and mind for the start of the day. Another option is to sit or lay down in silence to prepare the body for bedtime in the evening (so they actually go to bed on time for once).
Keep it Simple2 of 6
Expecting your child to sit still for five minutes or more on their first try is like expecting a new puppy to be potty-trained after one day. Instead of setting the bar too high, start small and grow from there. Experts recommend one minute of meditation per year of the child's age.
Don't Force It3 of 6
Children are stubborn creatures. Forcing your child to sit and meditate will likely just make them feel like they're in timeout. Let your child take the lead instead. Make it fun with a guided meditation that gives the child prompts. Or try a game like walking across the room while balancing a book on their head. This will make the child focus on taking slow, mindful steps. It may not seem like meditation, but it is. Plus they can work on their future modeling career.
Don't Forget to Breathe4 of 6
Seriously, though, it may sound silly, but it's easy to forget to breathe. How many times during the day do you take deep, meaningful breaths? If you're like most people, not many. Consciously noticing your breath by putting a hand on your chest and one on your tummy will help you connect to the rise and fall of each breath. It's a simple way for children (and adults) to reconnect to their breath.
Be Patient5 of 6
Don't begin meditation with set expectations or end goals. There is no right or wrong way. Let the process flow naturally and make it enjoyable for everyone. Be patient with your child and yourself. If you're looking for more information, you can find many guided meditation resources on YouTube or on various phone apps.