“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.
“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.
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.
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.
Don’t expect too much at the start
Be relaxed and calm yourself
Keep your language and instructions simple
Let them participate voluntarily
Make it fun and enjoyable
Explain to your children how good it is for them-they love hearing that it improves memory, helps them to concentrate etc
I always tell children it is like exercising their brain
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 Indigo Dreaming:
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.
If you would like to become a childrens meditation facilitator then Amy has recommend Sarah Wood Vallely from America. There is a link given below in more resources. I’m even thinking about doing myself as its offered as a tele-course, making it very accessible no matter what part of the world you are from.