Do you remember lying in the grass as a child, watching the clouds move by and not having a care in the world?
Only as adults, we often find ourselves longing back to those times where we could really be in the moment, not thinking about anything else but being in the here and now.
Well, not all children get to have those moments of peacefulness with themselves anymore, at least not to an appropriate extend. It’s not only us adults that feel the pressures of expectations and duties lingering above our heads continuously.
A normal 8-year old today has long days, filled with school, after school daycare, homework and at least two to three afternoon activities like sports or music.
Even the youngest members of society spend the greater part of their waking hours in nursery, where there is barely the chance to have actual quiet time for themselves.
And it doesn’t get better with time.
“If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.”
– Dalai Lama
As a young teenager, you are not only faced with schoolwork and extra activities. Your duties at home and obligations to your social life are increasing as well.
If we are really honest: getting a cold might be one of the only chances an average child has for doing one crucial thing: nothing. Giving children time for meditation, self-reflexion and fantasy should be a priority.
Children who meditate develop a better self-esteem and lower their stress levels. They are more creative and can focus better in school.
Especially kids who are hyperactive or have troubles sleeping can benefit immensely from meditation.
Instead of exhausting them with countless activities in order to insure sleep and calm by the end of the day, an appropriate guided meditation can ease their mind into proper relaxation and self-awareness.
So how can we, as parents, teachers and grandparents incorporate time windows for our children on a regular basis?
This does not need to become another chore. By choosing away unnecessary things and getting creative with the leisure time you have with your children, you provide valuable downtime your child’s brain needs to recover from everyday demands.
Here are some hands-on tips for creating meditation possibilities for your children:
Audio Stories And Guided Meditation
Sometimes you just see right away that your child has had a busy day. Provide him or her with some fun relaxation time. Play a relaxing audio story that engages his or her fantasy or put on a guided meditation cd for children. Maybe you even have time to join in and cuddle on the sofa together while listening.
Turn Off The TV
You know it yourself: crashing in front of the sofa after a hard day is the quickest way to relax. The only down side is, that, well, you don’t really relax. While your body is getting comfortable in front of the screen, your brain is flooded with information that needs to be processed.
Think about the additional stress this causes for your child.
I am not suggesting to never letting your kids watch TV. Just be aware of letting them actively watch something and then turning off the television when it is done. It is unnecessary to let the TV run in the background. It divides everyone’s attention and prevents your children from using their own fantasy to pass time.
Breathing Against Stress And Pain
More and more children get stressed at quite a young age. If you pay attention you can easily detect those situations, where your kids are stressed. Do not brush it off as nothing but make them deal with it instead.
First, help them acknowledge the reason why they are getting agitated or anxious. Encourage them to take a few deep and calming breaths and to get their shoulders down.
Finally discuss with them how to find solutions out of the situation; for example make a to do schedule or call your friend you had a fight with and apologize.
Yoga With Your Child
Getting children excited about yoga is not a difficult task. Many yoga poses are named after animals, which makes it fun right away. The advantages are countless: you and your child get some exercise, you spend quality time with each other, you get to experience accomplishment together and it is easy to incorporate a breathing relaxation in the end.
This is especially fun on days where emotions are flying high and you need to reconnect with each other in a positive way. The key is to not take it too seriously, have fun together and let your kid show you some new creative yoga poses.
Here is a great app to get you started:
My First Yoga – Animal Poses For Kids
As a gym teacher you are used to showing your class how they need to use their bodies to boost their athletic skills, but what about some rewarding time for relaxation they might need after pushing themselves to the limit? Use the last five minutes of your class for a mindful exercise:
Get the children to lie down on their back, arms spread out, palms facing up, eyes closed – the Shavasna or Corpse Pose.
Tell them to feel aware about the hard work their body has performed; how their heart is still pumping. By letting them focus on their breathing and telling them to relax each body part, one after the other, their mind gets a well-deserved break as well.
If you are a school teacher, you should definitely try to incorporate a short meditation for your students every day. You will soon discover that the time is well spent.
Meditation reduces stress and can enhance attention and focus. You might also find that the children improve their social skills with each other in school. Once they are more aware of their own needs and feelings, they develop bigger empathy for others.
As simple as it sounds, a lot of parents simply don’t have or make the time for bedtime stories. It is such an easy and successful way to send your children off to a good night’s sleep. Their imagination is activated and they are calmed by your presence and your voice.
Sunday Morning Fantasy Story
This is an absolute children’s favorite. On Sunday mornings, or any other morning you don’t need to rush, gather your kids in the bed and take them on an adventure. Tell them a story you come up with as you go, which leads to fun plot turns and endings and pushes your own imagination for a change.
You will find your children being engaged and listening and trembling with excitement. You might accompany the story by simultaneously stroking over their backs to enhance the story. As your children get older, you can take turns telling a fantasy story.
Last but not least, this is the most valuable and most difficult tip of all. Let your children be bored sometimes; with nothing other to do than to spend time in their own head. In our busy time we forget the importance of letting our thoughts drift and of checking in with ourselves how we are doing. Let’s not deprive our children of this essential skill for enhanced happiness.
So wherever you are with children, may it be at home or at school, try to create some space for relaxation with them. There are countless methods out there, like mindfulness, guided meditations for children, kids yoga or breathing exercises. Let’s help the next generation to a happier life!
Which one of my tips did you like the most?
I challenge you to try it out, and comment about how it went. Good luck!
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