Have you tried meditating with your kids?
I have three kids ranging in ages from 12 to seven. We live in an apartment in New York City. No backyard, and not too much space. Let’s just say that it gets a little chaotic at times in our home. Recently, I have been trying to mediate to find that peace and quiet I crave.
Several months ago, I read Susan Kaiser Greenland’s book, The Mindful Child, which outlines a process of teaching children mindfulness techniques which, according to Greenland, leads to calmer, kinder and more compassionate kids. It all made sense, but I hadn’t a chance to try the techniques out on my three rambunctious kids.
This past week, my older son was almost brought to tears over studying for several tests. I realized it was time to try a little meditating and mindfulness on the gang to see if it would help relieve a little stress.
I downloaded the Simply Being app on my iPhone and started the experiment.
The first night, I had two kids practice with me. As soon as my eyes closed, I heard giggles, snorting sounds and then, more giggles. My daughter jumped up, picked up our cat and started giggling some more. My son stretched his body out on the floor—twisted and turned.
Through all this commotion, I breathed in and out and actually tried to take to heart the soothing voice on the app telling me everything was okay just as it was. I am not sure what they got out of it, but I actually felt pretty good.
The first session wasn’t particularly successful, but later on that evening, my kids wanted to try it again. My daughter sat in my lap this time, and for about a minute, I felt her body relax. No giggles. Well, at least for that minute. Some progress.
All three of my kids meditated with me the next morning. My 11-year-old was bribed into doing it with a promise of some Xbox time after the session, but at least he was trying it. They all sat quietly and breathed for a while. The energy in the room calmed down. It made me realize that if the kids had this technique as a tool, it just might be a help in times of stress.
This is just the start, but I think I am going to keep trying to get them to join me. I know that it helps me, and I am curious to see how the experiment continues. I will keep you posted.
Francesca Olivieri (www.francescaolivieri.com) runs a green consulting business; blogs for Martha Stewart’s Whole Living, The Family Groove and Scenic Hudson; and contributes to Daily Candy Kids, YogaCity, Citiscoop, and NRDC. She is on the board of Scenic Hudson and is presently working on growing her family farm upstate.
Editor: Nikki Di Virgilio
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