In today's non-stop world even kids need a way to unwind. I see my daughters hurry, hurry, hurry from one place to another. School, sports, homework, dinner, baths, bed. I see them become frustrated and tired. Just because they are children and have less worries and responsibilities does not mean they do not feel the burden of things out of their control. I recently came across an excellent book by Kerry Lee MacLean, Peaceful Piggy Meditation. It is an great introduction to meditation for kids. We decided to give it a try.
Meditation helps soothe the mind and calm the emotions- what a valuable tool to give our children. Kids are always open to trying new things. My daughters were excited to gather the objects suggested in the book and set up a place to sit and just breathe.Peaceful Piggy Meditation does a great job explaining why meditation is important and how it can actually make life better. The book explains when they become frustrated or overwhelmed it is good to take a break, find a quiet spot and calm down. Parents may also find this practice useful and it can be something to do as a family. Kerry Lee MacLean explained to her children "You brush your teeth to keep them clean and healthy; you meditate to keep your mind happy and healthy." They practiced it as a family and she saw that meditating together just a few minutes a day made her kids happier, more peaceful, and confident.
Another great resource is Thich Nhat Hanh's Planting Seeds- Practicing Mindfulness with Children. It offers a much more in-depth look at ways to be present, aware, and calm. I found the book's meditation cards very useful in beginning our meditation practice. I think it is hard for children to sit still and clear their mind. The cards give them an image to focus on. For example: "Breathing in, I see myself as the big blue sky, with a lot of space in and around me. Breathing out, I feel very free and at ease." Ahhh, that makes me feel calmer already!