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Finding Focus: Meditation for Beginners (page 2)

Finding Focus: Meditation for Beginners

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Updated on Jun 25, 2009

Winding down with the sleepy cloud. Perfect for bedtime, this exercise helps your restless child fall asleep. First, ask your child to describe his nightly routine, from brushing his teeth to reading a short story to getting tucked into bed. Then, have him close his eyes, and walk him through this routine. He will take deep breaths as you describe him snuggled under the covers, and then describe a soft, sleepy cloud floating above his head. The cloud, which can be any color he wishes, even plays calming music as he drifts into a slumber.

Picking fruit from a happy tree. This activity helps teach your child how to nurture herself and listen to her needs and wants. After getting cozy and relaxing her body, she imagines a tree. The tree has happy and sad fruit, and you ask her to look for the sad ones. Tell her that she will take care of each one and become aware of what it needs to be happy. After she picks one, ask the question: “What does this fruit need to be happy?” Let her find the answer in silence.

Ditching stress with the hokey pokey: This activity works best with a group, but is possible with one child, too. Stand in a circle with the group, or face your child. “Ask the kids to think of something they don’t want to think about right now,” says Wood Vallely, “then pretend the ‘something’ is in your hands.” If the child’s “something” is homework, for example, cup this in your hands and prompt the hokey pokey tune: “Put your homework in, take your homework out. Put your homework in and shake it all about….” Repeat this with the next child, but encourage everyone to sing and dance each time. “This is a great way to let go of stress, evoke laughter, and teach children that they can let go of thoughts easily,” says Wood Vallely.

Finding zen with a stuffed friend: Ask your child to lie down with a beanie baby or other small stuffed animal on his stomach, making certain he can see the animal’s face. Tell him to breathe deeply and watch the stuffed animal rise and fall on his belly. After he does this five times, ask him to close his eyes and continue to take deep breaths, but this time encourage him to imagine it rising and falling in his mind. “The idea is to focus on their breath and the stuffed animal,” says Wood Vallely. “This exercise will offer children a tool they can use to fall asleep, calm down, or just be still in the midst of a busy day.”

As you can see, meditation activities are varied and can be fun, interactive, and healthy ways to gain focus, relax, and massage the mind.

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