How To: Meditate With Kids
Many of us have heard about the benefits of meditation for ourselves, and for our kids. Companies are scheduling yoga and meditation sessions for employees, and some schools have even been bold enough to change the punishment of detention in to time spent in mindful meditation and connection. The results are more steady, focused, kinder people.
We all want that for ourselves and for our kids, right? We want to be able to gracefully surf the waves of parenting young humans with integrity, with a calm, and soothing voice. Right?
The reality, at least in my house, is far from that. Let’s be honest. But I do keep trying.
I am lucky that one of my kids has stuck it out for seven years at the karate studio where I once trained, and where meditation is a regular part of training. When after school mindfulness classes were offered for the first time at the elementary school, my kids wanted in. Didn't even hesitate.
As a yoga teacher, karateka, and daughter of Japanese Shinto/Buddhists, meditating has never felt foreign to me. But the struggle to keep up a daily practice is real.
While we don’t have to be convinced of the benefits, fitting it in to our daily schedule seems such a high hurdle sometimes. I could criticize myself over and over for not sitting with my kids every day. But I don’t. When I think of it, I invite them to stop, drop, and meditate. And this is how it goes.
First, bring out the collection of crystals, meditation stones and other “fun” things for them to choose from. Second, let them pick the music, and just accept that if they want to close their eyes and on the inside rock out to MCYOGI, so be it. They get to pick. Third, make a deal: you pick one song, I pick the second. Fourth, make a promise to stick with it through to the end, even if they need to shift around a bit, but we're going to stick it out until the music ends.
In my book, 3 minutes is a success. Sometimes we get close to ten. My secret? Never forget that simply showing up is *enough*. They can flop, they can peek, they can change positions, they can even whisper a thing or two. They can end up sprawled out on the floor.
However it ends, as long as I let it be whatever it was and thank them afterwards, they will join me the next time. They’ll show up again. And that is enough.