Start a meditation practice, and lead by example.
One of the best ways to open a conversation about meditation with your child is to let them see you meditating or exploring mindfulness in your everyday life. Be honest with your kids about why you meditate, how you do it, and what you feel like the benefits are. Keep it light-hearted and inquisitive. Let them explore, ask questions, and just chat. If they are curious, ask them if they want to join you for a meditation.
Ask your kids what they know about meditation.
Chances are your kids have already heard about meditation or mindfulness at school, online, or maybe even from their friends or other family members. So why not start the conversation by asking them what they already know? You might be surprised by how much they know about the practice already, and this might be the perfect way to suggest that you start exploring
meditation together as a family.
Talk about the benefits of meditation for certain struggles.
If your child is struggling with something specific like anxiety or insomnia, or they struggle to speak kindly to themselves, try talking about how meditation can help. Share the benefits that you think will resonate with them the most. Letting your kids know how meditation can help them with a particular struggle in their life, backed up by facts and science, might be the open door you need to share this practice with them.
Start a new morning or evening routine.
If you are a family that loves traditions and routines, why not pitch the idea that you start a morning or evening meditation practice together? Make it fun, talk to your kids about the practice and why you want to do it, and let them be a part of the planning process when creating this new sacred self-care ritual for your family.
Meditating as a Family
There are no hard and fast rules about how to meditate as a family or what this should look like in your household. Every family is different; each member of your family is unique and will want something different. Go with the flow and let your family explore mindfulness and meditation. This practice should always feel like something that is adding value to your life, fostering closeness, or bringing other benefits to your life.
Carving out time as a family can be a struggle, but eight to ten minutes a day of meditation is enough to get the mental, emotional, and physical benefits of the practice. While improving individual wellbeing, meditating together can strengthen family bonds. And it can be fun, an experience where you meet your children where they are at.
Meditation Practices for Being Present
Take a moment to give yourself permission to slow down and be present.
Connect with your breath. Notice how you are breathing and begin to slow it down.
Send the breath into your belly and sit with the experience of breathing for a few minutes.
Check in with your body. How is your body feeling right now?
Check in with your mind. What thoughts are going through it today?
Check in with your heart. What feelings are you experiencing today?
Open your senses and experience the moment as you breathe. What do you hear, feel, and think about what is happening right now in this moment?
Sit, breathe, and be present in this moment with your body, mind, and heart and for at least seven minutes.
For Kids + Teens
Begin by taking three deep breaths. Inhale through the nose and sigh it out through the mouth.
Remind yourself that you are checking in with how you’re feeling today without judgment
Find your natural rhythm of breath, and follow your breath as it moves in through your nose, down your throat to the lungs on the inhale, and how this process reverses itself on the exhale.
Imagine the breath is your favorite color. Watch it flow in and out of your body from your nostrils. Do this for five minutes.
End your meditation by telling yourself three times, I am present in my body, mind, and heart.
For Little Ones
This practice can be done inside or outside, and your little one may benefit from doing this practice with an adult for extra guidance.
Have your child take a moment to get comfortable, close their eyes, and settle in. Instruct them to connect with their breath, have them slow it down, and guide them through taking five deep breaths.
Now call out each of their senses and begin cycling through them. Ask your child: What do you hear? What do you smell? What do you feel? What do you see? What do you taste? Have them answer out loud as you ask these questions.
Continue to cycle through the five senses and stay present in the moment with them.
Do this five times, then have them share what their senses are telling them about the present moment. if you’re doing this together, you can share what your senses are telling you.
End with a moment of gratitude for all our senses and the experiences they give us every day.
Excerpted with permission from Mindful in Minutes: Meditation for the Modern Family (Fair Winds Press, an imprint of The Quarto Group, 2023) by Kelly Smith. Mindful in Minutes is available wherever fine books are sold. Learn more at quarto.com
Kelly Smith is the founder of Yoga For You, the host of the iTunes chart-topping meditation podcast Mindful in Minutes and Meditation Mama, and the author of Mindful in Minutes: Meditation For the Modern Family. She is an E-RYT 500, YACEP, and master trainer in meditation, yoga nidra, and restorative yoga. Her meditations and work have been featured in Meditation Magazine, Popsugar Fitness, ABC News, The Bump, Twin Cities Live, and the Lavendaire Lifestyle Podcast. You can find her on Instagram as @yogaforyouonline.