The Mindful Child: How to Help Your Kid Manage Stress and Become Happier, Kinder, and More Compassionate by Susan Kaiser Greenland
This book has changed so much for us. I think I recommend it to someone every week.
Many years ago, I saw a great therapist, who said, within three minutes of meeting me, “Wow, you’re really scattered. You should try meditating.” I tried meditating. And tried. And tried. I listened to guided meditation CDs. I meditated while nursing babies in the middle of the night. I think I was able to successfully meditate for 30 seconds.
The basic premise of The Mindful Child is to teach your child meditation through breath awareness, but the happy side-effect (for me) is that I finally feel like I’m successfully meditating. The exercises are so easy and simple (so easy and simple, a child could do them! har), that we’re all happily meditating most every morning.
I also pull it out if we’re having an afternoon where everyone is all screechy and hitty.
I pick a different exercise and guide us through it. The kids are surprisingly receptive. Zuzu and Ramona don’t do it, exactly, but they sit there quietly and watch. The exercises are things like rocking your stuffed animal to sleep by putting them on your belly (while you’re lying on your back) and breathing in and out. Or imagining that you have a protective bubble around you that can get huge if you’re alone in a meadow, or shrink around you if you’re in a crowded room — but it always protects you and no one can get into it without your permission. Or just sending friendly wishes, silently, to other people.
If you’re interested in starting a meditation practice with your kids, this is the book to get. It’s chock-full of information, and each exercise can take as little as 30 seconds, or much longer if you and your kids are up for it.