As I sit in my backyard at this very moment enjoying a warm, late spring breeze, listening to the wind chimes and birds chatting to and fro, I am struck by how few of us pay attention to the wee details of life. In 2010 I began a journey of quieting my mind, body and spirit and what began as an external awareness of paying attention to the wee details became an inward awareness of self.
For the past seven years, I have worked with families teaching moms the importance of shutting off and shutting down. As my mom clients allowed themselves time to become quiet, something “magical” happened within the household – everyone became peaceful calm and relaxed , and in some cases it even affected pet’s behaviour!. Parents also reported their children could focus better, laughed more and the families enjoyed spending time together.
As my coaching practice shifted to working specifically with children, I began to use meditation and visualization as a way of helping them deal with many common place situations including insomnia, anxiety, busy brain syndrome (inability to shut off their brains), feelings of being overwhelmed (at school) and focusing both at home and at school. Within one or two sessions, these kiddos felt calmer, better supported and empowered both at home and at school.
There has been much research on how meditation has supported adults and we are just beginning to understand the need within our communities to have moments of quiet our super charged lives.
How can we begin to support our children through meditation? Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Shut down and shut off! Shut off ALL technology – computers, smart phones and mobile devices
- Location, location, location! Establish an area in your home that can be designated as the calming centre or zone. Anyone in the family can use that space for quiet time at any time.
- Schedule it baby! To start you may have to schedule family quiet time – whether it’s reading, writing in a journal, meditating – the choice is up to the family member.
- It’s a family affair! I have worked with children as young as four teaching them how to shhhhhhh – they are fabulous at it because their minds work in the present (no past or future thoughts or thinking for them) and so they are amazing at meditation. Older children require a little more work to get them to quiet. It is absolutely imperative that Mom and Dad (whenever possible) model quiet moments and meditation to their children for it to become a way of life.
If you are still having difficulty getting children to quiet, find some meditative or soft music to play – using the old “music soothes the savage beast” technique. There are also many wonderful guided meditations online for children. Remember meditation takes practice and everyone has their own way of meditating – there are no wrong or right ways to meditate.
Laurel Crossley B. A., is a life coach that works with children who struggle with anxiety and sleep disruptions. She currently runs a Skype-based meditation initiative for three to eight year olds called Meditating Munchkins. For further information please visit www.opti-mom.ca or e-mail Laurel directly at email@example.com