Teach Your Child Important Life Skills Through Family Meditation
By Katlyn Lerner
The practice of meditation is becoming more prevalent in the United States, with 14.2% of adults using this type of mind and body practice as a complementary health approach when dealing with various medical problems and mental health issues. More children are learning mindfulness meditation as well, as studies have found that teaching mindfulness to children can make them better equipped to handle stressors and obstacles in their daily lives as well as in the future. Family meditation is a natural approach to teaching your children important life skills that they can use throughout their lives. Here are some valuable tips on how to meditate as a family to get you started.
The Benefits of Family Meditation
Mindfulness meditation is all about awareness and being in the moment–focusing on your body and surroundings without making any judgments. Everyone will be able to benefit from meditating as a family. With adults, mindfulness meditation has mostly been used as a treatment for stress-related problems as well as mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Meanwhile, mindfulness meditation can be used to teach children how to pay attention to their surroundings, improve their memory and develop a positive self-concept–especially in this modern world where they are constantly bombarded by so many distorted images from television and social media channels. When done as a family, mindfulness meditation can also foster bonding and strengthen familial ties.
Parents Should Lead by Example
Before you start teaching your children mindfulness meditation, it’s better if they see you doing it first. Children are very impressionable and they tend to model the behavior that they see from their parents. So, if you start practicing meditation at home and introduce this activity in a calm manner, they will be more likely to pick it up and engage in family meditation. You can also address any concerns or dispel any misconceptions that they might have about mindfulness meditation. Lastly, it’s better if the leader/parent is already very familiar with the techniques before teaching it to their children.
Start with Simple and Short Sessions
Children don’t have the same attention span as adults, so it’s best to start with simple and short family meditation sessions. Make sure to provide your children with clear, concrete and step-by-step instructions so that they can easily follow the activities. If your child has difficulty sitting still, don’t hesitate to be creative with your instructions to ignite their imagination. You can even inject some humor there too.
When it comes to the length of family meditation, you can start with five minutes–especially if you have younger children. Meanwhile, if you have children that are older or typically have a longer attention span, you can make the sessions longer. Eventually, you can extend up to 15 minutes once they get used to the exercises. It can be done first thing in the morning or as a nighttime ritual before going to bed. Just make sure that the sessions are at the same time each day.
Introduce a Variety of Activities
Mindfulness meditation isn’t just about guided breathing, there are many other activities that will catch the attention of your children. For example, you can do the candle gazing method during one session and utilize a resonant bell in another session. You can even do it outside the house with cloud glazing or floating on water in the pool.
Point Out How They Can Use Meditation in Their Everyday Lives
Last but not the least, don’t forget to show them how these meditation skills can be applied in their daily lives. For example, if they are feeling angry, they can do focused breathing instead of throwing a tantrum. Even emulating meditation poses can help them feel more confident when they are feeling anxious. Mindfulness can also make them be more observant of their surroundings and notice things they hadn’t before.
Meditating as a family is a wonderful way to teach children natural ways on how to deal with life’s challenges, and they’ll take these skills with them as they grow up. This could safeguard them from developing emotional and interpersonal problems, which could become mental health issues down the line. Teaching mindfulness meditation isn’t that difficult as well since children are said to be more in tune with mindfulness due to their youth. With these tips, you’ll have an easier time meditating as a family.
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