The first introductions to meditation can begin when you have a conversation with your child about life. Tell your child that meditation is a part of life we experience while being quiet and still inside. Perhaps by age 2 and a half or 3 a child can understand the difference between dashing around and being still.
First meditation experience
Use the models around you for examples of stillness, such as a dog or cat curled up and resting.
Then play a meditation game with your child, but adapt it for humans. You can both sit with your arms and legs curled in like a sleeping cat or dog.
While you are both sitting ask you child to breathe in and out like you do: Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out in a steady even rhythm. Then both close your eyes and practice this for a few rounds.
Take a deep breath and slowly let it out and ask your child to do the same.
That concludes the first meditation experience.
Second meditation experience
Next session while both of you are sitting with your legs and arms curled in, both close your eyes and do 30 seconds of even breathing and then the deep breath in and out. This time add a prayer or statement of appreciation such as "I am thankful for my family." Ask your child to think about that for 10 seconds. This is their first experience of reflection in meditation. Stretch out and go on with your day.
In this way, increment by increment you can add elements of meditation practice to your child's beginning sitting meditation practice.
Summary of sitting meditation
By beginning slowly and making meditation a very brief practice you are most likely to hold your child's attention.
It is better to have many very brief practice sessions than try to have a child sit and begin wiggling. The point is to make meditation seem very natural, like a brief break to rest from active playing or from an emotional upset or squabble between kids.
As the child grows older more philosophy and a longer sitting time can be practiced.
I invite you to join me in a daily group cyber meditation for personal and world peace. Click the article here to read about it.
Meditation for All Kids
Sitting, walking, dance and group circle meditations, along with positive affirmations, verses and benefits of meditation for kids of all ages and abilities in a 100 page book with illustrations. PDF Ebook | EPUB | Paperback | Mac Users | B&N NOOK eBook
Article and illustration by Susan Helene Kramer
Sign up below for our free weekly meditation newsletters to keep up with the latest feature articles.