Alright! Glad we have got that settled!
How, you may wonder, can a young child meditate? Well, lets talk a little about what meditation actually is. Meditation is bringing all of your attention to WHAT you want, for the amount of TIME that you want. It is being in the present moment and focusing all of your attention on a subject of your choosing. It could be focusing on your breath. It could be repeating a mantra. Regardless of the subject, you are focusing on one thing, and redirecting your attention back to that thing when your mind wanders. You keep coming back to this moment.
Children are masters of being in the present moment. Watch your little youngsters at play when they are building with blocks, or creating with clay. They are so involved with their activity, the activity that they have chosen, that they don't even hear you calling their name. And yes, at times we may feel like they are ignoring us or not listening … but could it be they are involved instead in a meditative experience?
Children are great at meditating because it is so much a part of their nature to become fully absorbed in what they are doing. In time, as they grow older, our fast pace and busy lives teach them to do more and pay attention to more, and as a result they become more easily distracted and less in the present moment. THIS is why we practice meditation with children. Not because they need to learn it, but because we don't want them to lose it. We can foster that natural ability they have to stay present, to focus, to be 100% involved in the subject of their choosing.
So what is my favorite meditation activity for children?
Have you ever watched your child while they color? They get lost in it. The colors, the designs, the creation. Its a beautiful experience for them where they are pouring all of their attention into what they want, for the time that they want. Meditation. The experience is calming, relaxing and helps to increase focus and decrease stress.
At the end of my children's yoga classes we often color mandalas. I put on some relaxing, instrumental music and the kids color in peace. Mandalas are designs inside of a circle that are used to increase focus and aid in meditation. If you do a google search for kids mandalas, you will find an endless number of free downloads to print. Give it a try this weekend! Put on some chill music, diffuse some relaxing oils and have a coloring session with your kids. Watch them while they color, notice how involved they get in the process and how focused their little minds become. Its beautiful to watch these mini meditators in action.