What if time-outs weren’t a punishment but a reward? I know, we joke about mommy needing a time-out in adorable internet memes, but that quiet time to clear our mind and calm our body is more serious than the memes let on. Our kids can benefit from this as much as we do. Change the name from time-out to meditation for kids and you’ve changed the mindset as well. Instead of using a time-out as a reactive punishment, you can teach your kids that taking time to care for yourself mentally, emotionally and physically is a gift.
1. Make it a daily habit
Having your kids center themselves and prepare for the day ahead or quiet their minds before they go to bed is truly a life skill. If you’ve ever spent a night walking your child back to bed ten times before you can finally get some rest of your own, you know how challenging it can be for little ones to soothe themselves. Same goes for struggling to help your middle schooler manage stress they have over the big math test on Friday. They’ll fight you at first, it’s true, especially the older ones, but they will thank you in the long run.
2. Start small...or short
The thought of asking a four year old to sit still and concentrate on their breathing for ten minutes is enough to have you vacillating between laughing hysterically and holding back wracking sobs. Go with a nice round sixty seconds in the beginning and increase your time incrementally. Remember, you’re meditating, no need to rush, that kind of defeats the entire thing.
3. Use all your senses
Make sure the temperature is comfortable, turn on calm instrumental music or soothing sounds, and run a diffuser with essential oil to help create a relaxing environment.
Whether you choose to make this the start to your day or part of your bedtime routine, teaching your kids how to meditate can be an instrumental part of raising them with better coping skills, the ability to handle the trials and tribulations of life and an overall approach to self care that will last them a lifetime.