Meditating with Children

Those of you that know me, know I am a homeschooling mom this year. I have two kids who made it all the way through the school system and graduated. I also have two middle graders whom I am homeschooling. Like a lot of homeschooling parents I love the freedom that this offers us. While I never saw myself as a school teacher, I do enjoy helping my own children learn about the world.

One night a few weeks ago, I was meditating myself to sleep (literally!) when a thought occurred to me, Why don’t I include meditation in our daily curriculum?

So I started teaching them meditation. We started with very short, guided meditation. I imagined all kinds of push back from them when I added it to the schedule. Admittedly, there was some grumbling from my youngest, but all in all it was easier than I thought it would be to make this work for the three of us.

First, I had to get them used to the idea of starting the day with meditation. Both my younger children, my daughter especially, always require a solid understanding of why (complete with cite-able sources). Lucky for me, meditation has been well researched so I read them an entire article published by some researchers at Harvard and then she agreed to try it.

I was very optimistic. My daughter, who is thirteen, did well holding still and seemed calmer after the meditations. My son is a wiggly child so sitting still is difficult for him. He is always moving or talking, or both. I thought he’d eventually calm down enough to just sit still if we practiced enough. So we started with meditations no longer than eleven minutes, which is his age and I read somewhere that one minute per year was good guide for kiddos.

The first week I played a guided meditation from my phone and we all settled in for it. I was able to get into it and my daughter was right beside me. My son was very unsettled during the session. I could hear him moving around the whole time. This happened over and over when we tried did meditation. Last week I had him really sit back and emphasized the fact that he should not move during meditation. I started the meditation and started really getting into it. Then I realized I couldn’t hear my son fidgeting like he normally does. I was sure he had finally figured it out, but when the meditation ended I found the little guy fell asleep.

This week we tried something different. I had him lay down on the couch and we did a five minute meditation. The result; He didn’t fall asleep, and he was able to hold still and pay attention to the meditation.

Now, do I think he *got* it and has mastered meditation? Absolutely not! I haven’t even *mastered* it. Anyone who tells you that they mastered meditation is lying. Everyone’s mind wanders. Everyone almost falls asleep, at least occasionally. Some days I don’t feel anything close to zen in my meditation. I am a work in progress. As are we all. As are my children.

It has been about three weeks now, meditating every morning to get the day started. I created a habit that we all now start our learning time with. If we skip it, which only happened once so far, my kids ask that we end the learning time day with it. I’m not worried about length or silence at this point with them. Meditation is a practice and I’m excited to share this amazing free resource with them. We are still exploring and trying to find the style of meditation that works best for us.

I truly believe anyone can reap the benefits of meditation and my kids have helped me to reaffirm that.

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