There are many things in this life I trust my child will learn on his own through exploration and other discovery. However, for other things I take on the role of a guide. One such skill is the ability to be still in our ever rushing world. The gift of being able to stop, breathe and take in what is happening in the present moment.
Children are already little gurus when it comes to living in the moment, so really it is a simple task for me to undertake. All I have to do is nurture what is already there and prevent it from becoming lost, as tends to happen as children grow up.
And the best way for me to do this is by teaching him the art of meditation. I must admit, this is something I am still learning myself, but I am finding that in practising together we are becoming more centred and in tune with one another.
We sit still, close our eyes and breathe deeply. I calm my voice and speaking slowly I say “Breathe in deeply. And breathe out.” I encourage him to breathe slowly in through his nose and out through his mouth, to focus on his breath. I may point out the coolness of the breeze, the sound of the birds in the trees, the feel of his breath slowing and his body relaxing or something else appropriate to the situation. But just as often, I may just stick to “breathe in, and breathe out.”
At three years old, he doesn’t do long stretches of mediation, and I never force it. When I see he is over-excited, worked up, tense or just out of tune with himself, I sit down and calmly say “Lets have a little meditation to help us feel calm shall we? Close your eyes…”
And he does. Sometimes it is just for three breaths. Sometimes a minute or two, and then he goes on with his play, calmer and more centred. As time goes by I expect he will enjoy taking longer stretches out to practice meditation.
We often combine meditation with massage. I ask him to lay back on a cushion or on my lap and say “Close your eyes.” I then gently massage his face, his head, his arms and legs as he breathes in soothing deep breaths. This is a great way to get started with a child who needs a little extra incentive to slow down for a moment.
Meditation is such a great tool as it can be used just about anywhere. I love stopping still in the middle of a forest to listen to the sounds of nature and “just be” in the moment, breathing in the sweet air and becoming one with the natural world. It is beautiful, calming and brings us right back to what is important in life.
Do you meditate with your child? Have you noticed any benefits since introducing this practice to them?
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