Meditation isn’t about getting kids to sit still for 10 minutes. It’s about teaching them that mental health is just as important as physical health. It’s about demonstrating the art of “paying attention” during and after meditation. And maybe most importantly, it’s about giving kids tools to handle the uncomfortable feelings that are a normal part of life and can come up when you sit still.
Anytime your child feel sleepy or sad or sluggish, do the below exercise with them and notice how moods, emotions, reactions, and energy levels shift. Sometimes just sitting up tall wakes up your mind and body and allows positive energy to ﬂow.
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Zip Up and Sit Up
Pretend it’s a chilly and sunny fall day—better put on your (imaginary) jacket and sunglasses before you go out to play. This is a great way to start the day, and it also gets you in the right position for other meditations in this book. Plus, it’s a great bed-itation (meditation you can do in bed) for those mornings when you don’t want to get out from under the covers.
1. Sit cross-legged on the floor or bed.
2. Pretend that you are wearing a jacket with a zipper that runs from your belly button to your neck.
3. Sit up tall, grab the pretend zipper, and say “zzzzziiipp” out loud as you zip up your jacket. Keep your back nice and straight.
4. Now it’s time to put on your sunglasses. Make 2 circles by touching your thumbs to your pointer fingers on both hands, then straighten out the rest of your fingers.
5. Bring your sunglasses up to your eyes and look out as far as you can see.
6. Now rest your sunglasses down on your knees, keeping your back straight. You are zipped up and ready to meditate.
7. Close your eyes and mouth and pretend that you are breathing in a chilly fall breeze through your nose. Then, open your mouth and say “ahhhhh” as you breathe out all of that cool air. Breathe in and out like that 3 to 8 more times.
8. Open your eyes, relax your hands, and notice how your body feels.
Tips for Teaching Kids Meditation
Meditation can become just as routine as brushing your teeth or sitting down for breakfast. Here, kids meditation teacher Tejal V. Patel talks you through developing a meditation habit with your kids, so they can access the physical and mental benefits of focused awareness.
Excerpted from Meditation for Kids: 40 Activities to Manage Emotions, Ease Anxiety, and Stay Focused, copyright © 2020 by Rockridge Press, Emeryville, California.