By following our example of a daily practice, we show children that meditation can be a normal part of daily life.
Once we have discovered all that meditation can do for us in our lives, we have the opportunity to share that knowledge with our children. Since a child’s first experiences take place in the home, what they learn there provides a foundation of knowledge and then becomes their basis for comparison as they move out into the world. Even if we may not feel that we are qualified to teach, we can plant the seeds that will give them a basic understanding of the peace and power that lie within them.
There are many ways we can instill the value of meditation. Since children tend to learn just as much, if not more, by observation and imitation, rather than by instruction, we can teach by example. By following our practice, we show them that meditation is part of daily life. Even if they appear to resist, they will come to understand meditation’s importance in maintaining their inner health if you treat it as something that is as important and as essential as eating well and keeping proper hygiene. Little children are not the only ones that can benefit by learning meditation; preteens and teenagers can also benefit from learning the skills necessary to calm their minds and spend quality family time meditating together.
We may be able to introduce them to the concept of closing their eyes and taking inner journeys by listening to visualization CDs, or you may comfortable enough to guide them through a visualization of your own. Creating a time of quiet listening in the middle of guided imagery helps them know that they can be silent and go within whenever they choose. You might want to sit together and hold hands, creating a deep bonding ritual that may become everyone’s favorite part of the day. By discussing afterward, you can discover how your child experiences his or her inner world. By teaching children how to create with their minds and how to access the stillness within them, you are giving them tools that will help them create the best lives possible.