When Can Kids Begin Sitting Meditation?
Article by Susan Helene Kramer – Shuchi
The first introductions to meditation can begin when you have a conversation with your child about life. Tell your child that meditation is a part of life we experience while being quiet and still inside. Perhaps by age 2 and a half or 3 a child can understand the difference between dashing around and being still.
First meditation experience
Use the models around you for examples of stillness, such as a dog or cat curled up and resting.
Then play a meditation game with your child, but adapt it for humans. You can both sit with your arms and legs curled in like a sleeping cat or dog.
While you are both sitting ask you child to breathe in and out like you do: Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out in a steady even rhythm. Then both close your eyes and practice this for a few rounds.
Take a deep breath and slowly let it out and ask your child to do the same.
That concludes the first meditation experience.
Second meditation experience
Next session while both of you are sitting with your legs and arms curled in, both close your eyes and do 30 seconds of even breathing and then the deep breath in and out. This time add a prayer or statement of appreciation such as "I am thankful for my family." Ask your child to think about that for 10 seconds. This is their first experience of reflection in meditation. Stretch out and go on with your day.
In this way, increment by increment you can add elements of meditation practice to your child's beginning sitting meditation practice.
Summary of sitting meditation
By beginning slowly and making meditation a very brief practice you are most likely to hold your child's attention.
It is better to have many very brief practice sessions than try to have a child sit and begin wiggling. The point is to make meditation seem very natural, like a brief break to rest from active playing or from an emotional upset or squabble between kids.
As the child grows older more philosophy and a longer sitting time can be practiced.
Article and photo copyright 2011-2016 Susan Helene Kramer
A meditation and yoga practitioner since 1976, Susan, Shuchi, writes on practical spirituality, family and social issues, and dance. Her instructional books are listed at her web site – http://www.susankramer.com/books.html