How To Teach Children Meditation

by Carole Fogarty

“In our changing world meditation teaches our children to use their minds without external stimulation” Amy Hamilton

A few years back I was keen to introduce meditation to my two younger boys.  Not knowing where to start, I began researching and found a wonderful expert, author and teacher by the name of Amy Hamilton.

I borrowed a copy of Amy’s book from our local library and loved it.  The book is called Indigo Dreaming and includes 49 wonderful meditations especially for children.

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Photo by Eddi 07

“When you calm your body & your emotions, you restore yourself, and restore peace to the world around you.”  Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh

Each night as part of my boys bedtime routine I would read a different meditation.  I kept it short and sweet, no more than around 5 minutes, although some nights my boys asked for more. At the time my boys were 8 and 10.

I followed Amy’s advice and allowed my boys to participate in the meditation (rather than trying to keep them quiet).  Jack my youngest would always like to comment and modify the mediation as he went along.  If he preferred doing something different such as imagining himself lying down rather than sitting, then I let him. Keeping it flexible I think was an important key.  Most of the time his eyes were closed.

When I interviewed Amy here is what she had to share about introducing meditation to children. I hope you find her advice as helpful, and as practical, as I did. Enjoy.

Amy’s guidelines for introducing meditation to children:

Be patient and don’t set your expectations too high (thinking that you will have your children sitting or lying perfectly still) like any new skill, meditation takes practice.

  1. Don’t expect too much at the start
  2. Be relaxed and calm yourself
  3. Keep your language and instructions simple
  4. Let them participate voluntarily
  5. Make it fun and enjoyable
  6. Explain to your children how good it is for them-they love hearing that it improves memory, helps them to concentrate etc
  7. I always tell children it is like exercising their brain

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Meditations for Children

A guided meditation has so many wonderful benefits.  It activates their imagination, teaches them relaxation skills, better equips them for stress, engages all their senses, gives them a positive experience and encourages a better nights sleep.

Cater for all learning styles in each meditation:

Some children are visual learners. This means they will relate better to the meditation if there is a good description of what the pyramid looks like in their minds eye.

Some children are kinesthetic learners which means they would need to know what it feels like inside the pyramid.

Some children are auditory learners which means they respond well to words and sounds. A guided meditation is perfect for them.

All of  Amy’s 49 guided meditations cater perfectly for all learning styles. This makes it very easy for the meditation to speak to your child in their special way of learning.

Appeal to your children’s imagination:

An important ingredient, I believe, is to choose only those meditations which you know will capture your child’s imagination. What works for one child may not work for another.

I personally found my youngest son kept coming back to the same 3 or 4 meditations each night from Amy’s books, despite the fact there were 49 different meditations to choose from.

Make it fun and short:

Following is a brief version of the magic pyramid, a wonderful meditation from Amy’s book.  It’s my youngest sons favourite. It usually takes anywhere between 3 – 5 minutes which seems to be the perfect amount of time.

You imagine yourself sitting inside a pyramid. The air inside is warm you feel very calm and relaxed and there is no sound. You breathe in and out and feel the quiet in your body. Feel the quiet spread with each breathe until it fills the whole pyramid. It is serene and still. You say in your mind I am quiet ……. I am quiet………I am quiet.

Some of the meditations titles in Amy’s book:

Sleeping cloak  -  Affirmation box – Bubble bath – Circle of light – Clouds – Crystal bed – Snow city – Shining star – Super hero – Tree house – Secret cave – Wizards Potion.

I have no hesitation in personally recommending  Amy Hamilton’s Indigo Dreaming book or CD if you are interested in introducing meditation to your children.

More resources:

Indigo Dreaming: A Book of Meditations for Children

Indigo Dreaming: Meditations for Children audio CD

Indigo Kidz’s: Amy Hamiltons web site

Sarah Wood Valley Children’s Meditation Facilitator training

A selection of articles about meditation and children:

 

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I use and love Ananga’s guided meditations and music

 

 

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachel May 29, 2009 at 2:25 am

I love this! Will read the book and think about recommending it to parents and kids. As a mom and a pediatrician, I’m always looking for new ways to to help kids (especially boys) look inward. This is a good resource –thanks!

Reply

Carole Fogarty July 5, 2009 at 10:47 am

Hi Rachel,

Glad you loved the resource. Children of today are so restless and their lives so busy. Meditation is definately something that is not exclusive to adults and if taught to children may support greatly creating more calm, grounded adults in the future.

Peace, love and chocolate

Carole

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jade July 14, 2009 at 11:58 am

thanks for the info- I have been meditating and thinking about introducing my own children, when their stepbrother was diagnosed add. as an acupuncturist I was looking for specific practices besides acupuncture herbs and diet that could help us learn together how to center ourselves. I will use this with children in my practice along with breath and sensory meditations as well.
blessings

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Andrea Livingston January 10, 2010 at 11:02 pm

thankYOU – this is a great reminder to go past the first page of listings on google to find the jewels!

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Denise April 15, 2010 at 12:54 pm

at what age would u recommend introducing a child to meditation?

Reply

Carole Fogarty April 17, 2010 at 6:36 am

Hi Denise,

I remember Deepak Chopra saying he started teaching his children from the age of 4 – doubt whether there is any right nor wrong age to start teaching children stillness.

Peace, love and chocolate

Carole

Reply

Jen Liam June 1, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Hi Carole.
I had to post about your Teaching Children to Meditate blog. I love the book you recommend….haven’t seen it before but it looks great. I was looking online for places to promote my new children’s meditation/mindfulness book – Indigo Goes In. It’s about a young turtle (Indigo!) who needs help with his angry, sad, lonely feelings. And (not suprisingly) finds that when he sits and breathes…comfort is right inside. I would love to hear what you think about it….take a look at my website when you get a chance: http://mosaiccounseling.net/IndigoGoesIn.aspx
I have used it with my 3& 1/2 yr old daughter….and with clients in my therapy practice. My motto…helping kids feel better…one meditation at a time! Peace. JL

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Heidi@jango December 20, 2011 at 2:25 pm

thanks

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Kristen October 17, 2013 at 5:38 pm

What a lovely post on introducing meditation for children. I think you can start at any age. I began when my daughter was 3 and we use it most nights to help her get to sleep or she is ever feeling anxious during the day.

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