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In honor of my kids second birthdays today, I would like to share 6 meditations for kids.
Since I began yoga and meditation over two decades ago, children have always been present. I always stared deeply into the eyes of kids who were regulars looking for signs that they had been here before. I would scan their chakras for evidence that they had practiced yoga and meditation in a previous life.
When I lived in India, I would watch mothers take crying, out of sorts children and calm them down by breathing with them. As they lowered their voices to speak to the children, they would close their eyes and the children would do the same. Within seconds the child would be calm and act as if nothing had occurred.
It was magical.
Moving back to the US, I began studying Kundalini yoga with my teacher, Gurmukh Khalsa. She regularly invited mothers and babies into the yoga classes. There would be newborn babies all the way up to school-aged children in her classes along with their parents.
Watching them sit calmly next to their mothers as they practiced yoga or meditation seemed otherworldly. I dreamed of a time when my children would be amongst the meditating yogi babies. Conscious beautiful babies learning spiritual techniques that will last them a lifetime. Fast forward to 2020 and I can tell you that my two-year-olds are NOT. THERE. YET.
My daughter has the attention span of a puppy. She loves animals and books about animals but her concentration is fleeting at best. My son on the other hand does sit quietly in his teepee and “reads” his books. He has meditative moments but I can’t classify him as a consistent meditator either. Watching these two year olds navigate their daily emotional roller coasters and find their way to stillness has been fun.
When our kids were 6 months old my hubby started Ohming the kids to calm down for storytime before bed. We would put them down for the night he would OM with them to calm down, then we would read them a book.
Last week I was able to teach them a breathing technique to calm themselves down when they get worked up. It worked so brilliantly that I thought I have to share more of this with them. Like anything, the more I share the calmer they become.
At 18 months, my Hubby started turning them into airplanes and flying them into bed, and once in bed, I ask them to cross their legs put their palms together. We take a few deep breaths, and then I instruct them to close their eyes and chant “ohmmmm. This puts them in a peaceful state and prepares them for deep sleep.
Many parents are embracing meditation instead of medication to calm their overly energetic kids. For wholistic conscious parents it’s like a spiritual dose of Xanax without the copay or the side affects.
Merriam-Webster defines the act of meditating as “to focus one’s thoughts on, reflect on, or ponder over.” This means that the definition of the opposite of meditation could be: “two-year-old human children.”
But meditation has many forms and experts say there are indeed elements of meditation that apply directly to the type of frustration that very young children are inclined to feel. “From 2 to 6, children undergo many changes and have little control over their environments,” says Dr. Jennifer L. Hartstein, a child and family psychologist. “Sometimes, their problematic behaviors are directly linked to that.” Although Hartstein says flat-out that “not all kids will be able to do meditation,” she’s found that “many kids” can “learn meditative breathing techniques that will help them regulate and not lose control.”
As a parent you have to realize that meditation is different for children. Instead of sitting for 10 – 30 minutes, in the beginning, children who are very young like my two year olds can only sit for 1-3 minutes and that’s enough. The goal is getting your kids to practice being still and quiet, that is how meditation starts.
I know some parents who bribe their children with cookies and treats to sit quietly and to that I say, do you, boo. We have to meet our kids where they are. It is also important to note that children are sponges and will pick up whatever they see in their environment. If you meditate they will meditate too.
Young children love ritual and repetition—hence “circle time” at the beginning of preschool, or the fact that Sesame Street always ends with 10 minutes of Elmo. The value of meditation is getting children familiar with the feeling of being still and quiet, if even for a moment until it becomes a habit.
So here are 6 meditation techniques to do with your kids.
Note: You have to meditate with them, not just tell them what to do😁
- OM. – Direct your child/ren to cross their legs and put their palms together. Take a few deep breaths, and then instruct them to close their eyes and chant “ohmmmm. Do this repeatedly for as long as your kiddos will participate.
- Buzzing- Direct your child/ren to take a deep breath in, fill up like a balloon- puff out their cheeks then buzz like a bee. Do this repeatedly for one minute, building up to five minutes.
- Chanting- Chanting makes kids very peaceful and sleepy. You can use a simple scripture, a yogic chant like Sa- ta- na- ma or make up a positive chant of your own like… I am happy I am peaceful.
- Vooing- This is a great exercise to calm overactive kids down. Just chant vooo over and over again with your kiddos for up to 3 minutes. When my kids have inexplicable melt downs, I tend to use this practice to calm them.
- Animal Sounds- Kids love this. I would have to say that this is the favorite of most kids. You inhale and exhale animal sounds in a low almost whisper tone of voice. Expect some giggling 🤣Inhale, exhale sounds of a cow🐄, Mooooo. Repeat 3 times then move on to the sounds of a sheep🐑 Ba and Baaaaaaaa repeat three times then move on to Horse- 🐎neeeeeey, then to Cat- 😸meoooooooooooow. Repeat 3 times then move on to Tiger-🐅 Raaaaaaaar, and finally, Snake- 🐍SSS Repeat 3 times then end with an OM and a hug. If your kids are anything like mine, they will be signing and asking for more. Kids love this practice so much.
- Laughing meditation. – This can be started with tickling or you can start laughing and your kiddos will start laughing with you. Do this for a minimum of 3 rounds.
Even if your child doesn’t join a monastery, go live in an ashram or become a monk, they will still benefit from the principles and practices of meditation. They will learn how to access their inner peace as well as and how to be still minute by minute. It gives them a tool for self-regulation that they can use for a lifetime. Unlike adults, kids don’t need a regular rigid meditation practice, kids are always present and live in the moment, they just need gentle reminders.
As always, shine bright, the world needs your beautiful light!
To find more guided meditations, please go to my Meditation page.