By Aimee Heckel
If you’ve ever been stuck in a small room with a toddler, or even a large house with a teenager — or heck, if you’ve ever been in the general presence of anyone younger than 18, the concept of “child meditation” may sound like the title of a sarcastic SNL skit.
You really can teach your child to meditate.
But, first, let’s be clear on what it means to meditate. It does not necessarily mean sitting cross-legged, perfectly still, humming chants with closed eyes in a cloud of incense while levitating into enlightenment.
Meditation for kids can simply mean helping them become aware of their thoughts and body. It can mean helping them learn how to pay attention to their breathing and how their breath can help them process complex emotions. Meditation can help a young child learn how to recognize the things that stress or frighten him, and give him tools on how to deal with that.
In fact, meditation can be a common-sense, practical skill that parents can teach their children.
Here are some of our favorite products to help teach meditation techniques to kids.
“Stress Free Kids.” Karyn Sullivan teaches a class in Colorado called Chillaxed Mommy and Toddler, where she teaches kids meditation techniques. Sullivan recommends the “Stress Free Kids” products by Lori Lite.
The Goodnight Caterpillar, $10.95, teaches kids how to take a deep breath, relax their muscles and manage stress and anger. The techniques woven into the storybook also help kids learn how to slow their heart rates and improve focus.
You can find this book on most major book sites, including Barnes & Noble and Valore Books.
Prefer a CD?
Check out Lite’s Indigo Dreams CD, which you can download from iTunes or buy on Amazon.com. Play the CD before bedtime and walk your child through four relaxation and stress-management tales, designed to improve stress and reduce anxiety.
Want to try something free?
Meditation Oasis offers a ton of free virtual meditation guides, including this one: Sleep Meditation for Children. You can find more Meditation Oasis downloads in the Podcasts app on your iPad or iPhone.
Want to learn more about teaching your child to meditate? Read these links:
“Teaching children to meditate” is the most widely read post on Karen Maezen Miller’s blog.
The Yoga Journal also has a useful story on “Meditation and Children.”
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