How to Start continued...
Or, you may find it's easier for you and your kids to meditate while moving rather than sitting still. Getting out in nature and walking can be calming. Once you lace up and head outside, find a gentle rhythm. Now's not the time for a powerwalk.
Instead, once you all are on the sidewalk, talk to the kids about being present. Explain what that means. It means being aware of things around you. Have everyone notice the sky and the trees. Ask, "How does the ground feel under your feet? Do you feel a breeze or warmth from the sun on your skin?"
Feel how your body moves as you take your steps. Have everyone repeat their mantra to themselves, if they like. Or have everyone just focus on their steps.
Ways to Include Younger Kids
Repeating a mantra and concentrating on breath might be too much for a preschooler or young grade-schooler, says Sarah Wood Vallely, author of Sensational Meditation for Children.
So how do you get younger kids to try meditation to help them relax? Make it fun.
Meditation doesn’t have to always be quiet. Instead, play games and teach them how to let worries go, Vallely suggests. That can be a fun, kid-friendly type of meditation.
She plays the "Let-Go Hokey-Pokey" with kids as young as 4 or 5. They sing the traditional song and do the dance, but instead of putting a "right arm in" or a "left foot in" the circle, they think about "putting in" things they don't want to think about. They might say "cleaning my room."
"The thing that's most important is to present meditation as something fun," says Vallely. "That's why I like to incorporate games and fun as part of the experience."
Explain to the kids that relaxing can be a cool way to make their bodies and minds feel better.
Where, How Often, and How Long
Once kids have tried a couple kinds of meditation, let them choose what kind they want to do. Let them sit or lie down -- whichever they feel like doing.