“My kid won’t meditate! That just sounds…unreal”.
I’ve noticed something when I tell people in the community about my job as a kid’s yoga teacher. It goes a little like this:
Them: “what do you do?”
Me: “oh, I am a kid’s yoga teacher!”
Them: (with a look of bewilderment) “how does that work? I can’t get my kid to stay still! They can’t do yoga because my kid won’t meditate-what should I do?”
From there, I usually go into a long spiel about how adults and children do almost everything differently, including meditation! Ahead, I have outlined what exactly meditation looks like when kids do it, why we still meditate when we’re little, and how to encourage your spawn to continue outside of class!
How do kids meditate?
It’s important to think about exactly what meditation is. Since meditation is the conscious act of sitting in stillness while we discern our thoughts and actions, it can be difficult for kids. After all, considering how children can put the Energizer bunny out of business if one could harvest their energy, sitting still is pretty much torture! So what to do? As a Kidding Around Yoga teacher, we have all kinds of brilliant ways to teach the harder concepts like meditation! We explain and illustrate that without meditation, our mind becomes like a wild monkey! Parents are often taken aback when they see us being wild monkeys, but kids get it! After we get all their wiggles out, we sit down and ask them how they feel. Usually, this introspection allows kids to start the basics of the practice. That is, they begin to become self-aware. Then, we begin our mantra: peace begins with me. It’s an effective way to demo each facet of meditation.
Why do kids meditate?
Kids, while different than adults with different experiences, still face daily stress. They are vulnerable to the ongoing, loud stimuli that affects us all. As such, they need a way to deal with it all and to decompress. Meditation helps them to create the silence that they need around them and within them. It is a practice that can help them achieve the art of discernment without judgment of themselves or of others. With rehearsal, they become better equipped to handle all the pulls they feel because they filter out what isn’t important and/or what doesn’t serve any purpose.
How can I get my kid to meditate at home?
We gotta practice what we teach! Start together. You and your child need to feel safe before you can meditate. If we feel rushed or like we need to do a million things, it will be very difficult to begin. So, in order to feel okay with taking time out of your day, set up a space that entices you to start. Make sure it is dark, a good temperature, and has comfortable seating. Try to keep a routine and release expectations. It’s okay if you can only commit to 5 minutes a day! Don’t force it otherwise you’ll just end up feeling badly! Lastly, go to a class and let the teacher guide you all!
After a few classes, I bet you won’t be saying, “my kid won’t meditate”, but instead, “my kid won’t stop meditating!”