Introducing children to meditation.
Posted by: Sue Atkins
My friend Marneta Viegas is an inspiration to me and I’d like to introduce you to Relax Kids.
“For many people the word ‘meditation’ brings to mind an image of snow-topped mountains, absolute silence and the uncomfortable cross-legged lotus position.
However, meditation can mean many different things to many different people, and can be as simple as counting your breaths over your morning cup of camomile.
The term meditation is used widely, and generally means becoming aware of your body, your breathing, your feelings, and entering a deep state of relaxation. It is most often used as a way to reduce stress, improve self-esteem, and get rid of any negative or debilitating thoughts -leaving more room for positivity, creativity and personal growth!
Sounds great, right? So why aren’t we introducing these important skills to children? Meditation has long been thought of as an adults-only practice, but the skills learned through meditation can be invaluable tools for helping children’s emotional and learning development!
Introducing your children to meditation can seem like a daunting task, but it may be simpler than you think. There is evidence to show that children as young as five can learn and benefit from relaxation techniques *(1). Children can be taught a variety of very simple meditation techniques, such as breathing exercises, gentle muscle relaxations, affirmations, and visualisation
Marneta Viegas built Relax Kids on the belief that children can and should learn meditation, and is now the UK’s leading expert in children’s relaxation. She is passionate about making the practice of meditation more accessible for children and has created a range of products and resources that introduce children to meditation in a fun, practical and magical way!
Relax Kids CDs take well-known fairytales, such as Jack and the Beanstalk and Alice in Wonderland, and transform them into beautiful, guided-meditations for children. View the fairytale range in the Relax Kids online store. Children can enjoy listening to the stories, while following simple instructions that will teach them important skills to help their emotional and learning development. For example, children might learn to control their breathing by imagining that they are breathing in colours and then blowing out a rainbow. Or learn progressive muscle relaxation techniques by imagining that they can feel their fingers and toes relax as they sink into a soft fluffy cloud. Or practice visualisation skills by imagining the warm wind on their faces as they take a ride on Aladdin’s magic carpet. Each CD is also brimming with positive affirmations to boost children’s self-esteem and encourage creativity!
As well as helping children learn to relax their bodies and minds, improve self-esteem and boost creativity, studies have shown that teaching children meditation can reduce dysfunctional behaviour *(2). In addition to the fairytale range, Relax Kids have also created a unique range of CDs designed to target specific emotional problems, including Anger Management and Anxiety and Worry. These CDs help children acknowledge their emotions and teach them positive and constructive ways to respond to those feelings. For instance, children will learn techniques like imagining that they are blowing their anger or upset into a balloon and then watching it float away.
Dr Jeff Chang, researcher of youth relaxation strategies, has found that four important elements are needed for children to effectively practice meditation *(3):
1.) a quiet environment
2.) an auditory, or visual stimulus
3.) passive attitude
4.) a comfortable position
Relax Kids products keep all of these elements in mind. Children can listen to Relax Kids CDs tucked up in bed, in the car on long journeys, or even in a crowded restaurant with (volume-limiting) headphones on to create a quiet environment. Each guided-meditation is set to soothing background music to keep children chilled-out as they listen, which serves as an auditory stimulus. Children will have a passive attitude to meditation sessions, because they are listening to fun, imaginative stories, rather than simply sitting still and listening to their thoughts. And a comfortable position can be in bed, on a pile of cushions, in their favourite chair or on Mum and Dad’s lap!
Relax Kids products have already helped over 250,000 homes and schools teach children the positive skills learned through meditation.
Visit their online store to find out more.
Listen to sample tracks, read reviews from other parents and find out which CD is best for you and your child.
All CDs also available as downloads. View downloads here.