Teaching children meditation

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Meditations in the form of guided journeys are wonderful for children because they engage the imaginative part of the child’s brain and help them relax. Leading children through meditation can help them increase attentive skills, learn to focus on their breath, and help them feel safe. Tree mediations are especially helpful for hyperactive children because they are grounding (calming, bringing child’s attention back to present moment).
CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE TREE ART ACTIVITY: My Safe Place Tree

The most effective mediations given to children come from the heart and are not read from a script. Try making up your own mediation for a child in your life. Lead them on an imaginary journey where anything is possible. Incorporate imagery and ideas that will interest the child (a pretend trip to the moon, a golden sparkly princess castle, etc.). I have included a tree meditation script that I wrote for school aged children below if you are uncomfortable making up your own or just want to try it out. For younger children, try more movement-based meditation like having them pretend to be a tree (stretching up toward the sun, wiggling their leaf fingers in the wind, etc).
REMEMBER: to be sure to allow children a chance to process the meditation afterwards (especially in seated mediations) so they have chance to talk about or artistically express emotions or thoughts that came up for them during the mediation.

TREE MEDITATION SCRIPT:
Sit down and gently close your eyes. Put your hands on your belly. Take a deep breath in your nose like you are smelling a flower. Feel your belly get bigger and bigger with your deep breath. Breathe slowly out your mouth and feel your belly get smaller again. Take another breath in your nose and feel your belly growing again. Breathe slowly out your mouth. Now, imagine you are outside sitting in the soft, green grass. You can see flowers around you and you can smell them too. You are sitting by a tall and strong tree. Pretend you are leaning up against the big, strong tree and feel the bark against your back. Take a deep breath in your nose and smell the fresh grass and outside air. The gentle breeze blows on your face and you can hear the leaves moving around way up above you. But the wind does not move the tree. The tree is too big and too strong to be moved. You can see that tree has roots that go deep into the ground and keep it secure and safe. Imagine there is a swing hanging from one of the strong branches. You are running to the swing and sitting down on the warm wooden seat. You grab onto the rough rope holding the swing and you start to swing higher and higher. You are swinging and your feet are reaching up to the warm sun. The yellow light is wrapping around you. Imagine you can breathe in the warm yellow light of the sun. Your swing is slowing down now. Now your body is becoming still again. You are feeling safe and warm wrapped up in yellow light. Feel your breathing again. Feel the air filling up inside of you. Breathe out again. When you are ready, wiggle your fingers and toes and open your eyes. You can come back to this place in your imagination whenever you want to feel safe and peaceful.
*to avoid reading too quickly, allow for 1-2 breaths between sentences*

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