My clients are diversified in age from 8 to 80 years old, and many of them want to open themselves to meditation. Adults have learned a variety of ways to put together a special space in their homes that is expressly used for that purpose. They have open to them the money and ability to purchase what they wish to put on their sacred personal space. But what about the children? There are a lot of kids out there who more than want to emulate the ritual they see on television, at home, and/or on the Internet. This meditation thing has caught on and children should not be exempt from enjoying its benefits. I have seen many a client's child switch to a more peaceful demeanor through the act of slowly breathing. The kids report to me that they feel free. That they go within their minds to a safe place. I have heard repeatedly about how meditating is like a fantasy place they can create with their imagination that belongs solely to them. If that's the case, then it's important for them to have someone to help them get started so they can adapt the routine with joy and involvement. The below suggestions outline my thoughts.
Feel free to experiment. :
1. Meditation is as much about the atmosphere and tools as it is the actual act itself. Create a sacred space with your child. Set up an area on a dresser or use the top of their bedroom nightstand to help them create a special space for them to visit. Place on the table: a little scarf with a small lamp or electric candle, their special trinket, rock or small toy. This establishes a "home," for it's personal significance.
2. Encourage them to respect their space by not using their computer tablets. Instead, remind them to do other things like reading, coloring or drawing. This enforces the idea of being mindful because these acts represent meditation in movement with a clear intention. This also eliminates the distraction from the "noise" on their computer screens.
3. Let your child add to their sacred space the items most precious to them. One addition you can suggest is to include a small bell into the mix. Ringing the bell when they go to their room to meditate will literally set the tone for the experience.
As your child gets older and can write, a journal is a great way for them to record their progress. The idea is to make the experience of peaceful solitude their break in the day so your child can regroup. You are the guide, but by no means should you become further involved once you help make the space unless your child has questions. Don't worry, he or she will, as I have found that meditation may actually open a door and create a spark of insight in anyone, especially children.
As adults, when we truly embrace meditation, we may find it takes us into a serene place where the imagination has no limits. We can dream without the worries from the waking world. Imagine that same experience through the eyes of a child.