A Parent’s Guide to Meditating With Your Toddler

A growing number of parents are looking for ways to share their stillness practice with their children. Here are some benefits of meditating with your toddler, along with suggestions for how to get started.

Benefits of Meditating With Your Toddler:

  1. 1. Spend time together as a family. Anything you do with your child gives you a chance to connect and strengthen your relationship. Toddlers mimic everything they see so they may already be curious about your meditation sessions.
  2. 2. Help your child to focus. Children have limited attention spans, but their powers of concentration will gradually improve with practice. Start off small to avoid frustration.
  3. 3. Make time to relax. Even short breaks will give you and your family a little more peace on busy days. If you battle over nap times, turning the TV off and sitting down together may make it easier for your toddler to fall asleep.
  4. 4. Take a more constructive view of time-outs. Meditation can help you present time-outs as a helpful tool rather than punishment. Sitting down together when you’re both happy will help your child see how taking a few minutes to calm their mind makes them feel better. Eventually, they may resist time-outs less even when they’re upset.
  5. 5. Encourage lifelong health. Many studies confirm that regular meditation improves mental and physical health. You’re helping your child get an early start on techniques that will make life easier during adolescence and adulthood.

How to Meditate With Your Toddler:

  1. 1. Be a calm role model. Small children are very responsive to their parent’s emotional state. When you develop a tranquil mind, it’s much easier for your child to feel secure and peaceful.
  1. 2. Keep your expectations realistic. Most toddlers live in a whirlwind of activity. Expect to be quiet and still for just a few minutes at a time. You and your child will enjoy your sessions more if you make the inevitable distractions part of the fun.
  2. 3. Open and close with a song. Pick any tune with cheerful lyrics that’s easy to sing. It will help you both get you in the mood.
  3. 4. Practice deep breathing and good posture. Learning to breathe correctly and sit up straight are great habits to master early in life. Even small children can learn to breathe slower and from their abdomen.
  4. 5. Buy some fun props. Even on a small budget, you can pick up some items that will stimulate your toddler’s interest. Get a bell that they can ring to call you both to attention. Go shopping together for a small cushion in their favorite color.
  5. 6. Use simple mantras. Help your child pick out words that will be meaningful for them. They may want to recite words like “peace” or “happy.” Make a game out of it.
  6. 7. Visualize. Take turns guiding each other through simple visualizations. You can each take turns naming people who you love including grandparents and family pets. Try describing an imaginary garden and fill it with pretty plants, water, and rocks.
  7. 8. Discuss your experience. You’ll both get more out of your sessions if you connect them to your daily lives. Talk with your child about how meditating makes them feel. Encourage them to make suggestions for additional activities.
  8. 9. Look for guidance. In most communities and online, there are many resources where you can find helpful instructions. Yoga studios and community centers may offer classes especially for parents and children. You can get books at your local library or search for websites about meditation and yoga for children.

Meditation is an effective way to help you and your toddler enjoy greater peace of mind. Start off gradually and keep it playful and you’ll both grow to love your “mommy and me” meditation sessions.

 

Avoiding Overwhelm

avoid overwhelmAvoiding the feelings of overwhelm is something that is not only necessary for our health but to our mental state of mind as well.  When we actively and consciously avoid those feelings we can ultimately avoid the burn-out feeling.  We all know what that feels like, exhaustion both mental and physical, short temper, sad, anxiety and sometimes depression.  Before we experience these feelings let’s look at some ways that we can avoid them all together.

  • If you sense the feelings of stress or anxiety coming on it is important to analyze what you do on a daily basis.  All too often we get up and go and don’t take time to truly focus and determine if we are doing too much.  Consider taking out a pad of paper and writing every detail of our day on this pad.  You will be truly amazed at what you do on a daily basis! If removing some items from your long list are impossible, then consider stretching out the tasks throughout the week.  Do you truly have to wash several loads, cook dinner, clean the floors, take your child to baseball all in the same day? Break down your tasks and you will automatically feel the sense of relief.
  • We as women, tend to believe that we can do everything on our own, which of course will lead to burnout.  It is perfectly acceptable to ask for help.  If you are married, ask your spouse to help with the daily activities.  If you have children, teach them tasks that will help you throughout the day and week.  Remember they are never too young to participate in family activities and that includes chores.  Ask a friend to help or simply be there to vent. Yes, it’s okay to vent!  Keeping all those feelings of overwhelm inside is not healthy.
  • Learn to incorporate breaks into your busy day.  It is important to take breaks to refresh your mind, and get the second wind which is needed to continue.  Take a nap or to rejuvenate yourself, consider going outside to inhale the fresh air.  Take a 10 to 15 minute walk and feel totally renewed.  It is important to simply step away from whatever situation or activity is causing you stress at the moment.  Once you take the necessary break, you will beat the burnout stage before it occurs.
  • Ultimately no one knows your body better than you!  Don’t ignore the signals that surface when your body or mind is feeling overwhelmed.  Headaches,  for example are not normal and are signals that your body gives you to signify that something is wrong and many times it’s because we have taken on too much.  Be careful and listen to your body.  Just as the oil light goes off in your car as a sign that it’s time for a maintenance check, your body will give you signals too.  Be aware of them and you will ward off the burnout stage and enjoy life to the fullest.

These are just a few tips that will help you stop the feeling of burnout in its tracks.  Begin implementing some of these tips today and you will enjoy getting up each day to a brand new day full of greatness.