For many people the word meditation brings to mind an image of snow-topped mountains, absolute silence and the uncomfortable cross-legged lotus position.
However, meditation can mean many different things to many different people, and can be as simple as counting your breaths over your morning cup of camomile.
The term meditation is used widely, and generally means becoming aware of your body, your breathing, your feelings, and entering a deep state of relaxation. It is most often used as a way to reduce stress, improve self-esteem, and get rid of any negative or debilitating thoughts -leaving more room for positivity, creativity and personal growth!
Sounds great, right? So why aren’t we introducing these important skills to children? Meditation has long been thought of as an adults-only practice, but the skills learned through meditation can be invaluable tools for helping children’s emotional and learning development!
Introducing your children to meditation can seem like a daunting task, but it may be simpler than you think. There is evidence to show that children as young as five can learn and benefit from relaxation techniques*(1) Children can be taught a variety of very simple meditation techniques, such as breathing exercises, gentle muscle relaxations, affirmations, and visualisation.
Marneta Viegas has built her company, Relax Kids, on the belief that children can and should learn meditation, and is now the UK leading expert in children’s relaxation. She is passionate about making the practice of meditation more accessible for children and has created a range of products and resources that introduce children to meditation in a fun, practical and magical way!
Relax Kids CDs take well-known fairytales, such as Jack and the Beanstalk and Alice in Wonderland, and transform them into beautiful, guided-meditations for children. Children can enjoy listening to the stories, while following simple instructions that will teach them important skills to help their emotional and learning development. For example, children might learn to control their breathing by imagining that they are breathing in colours and then blowing out a rainbow. Or learn progressive muscle relaxation techniques by imagining that they can feel their fingers and toes relax as they sink into a soft fluffy cloud. Or practice visualisation skills by imagining the warm wind on their faces as they take a ride on Aladdin’s magic carpet. Each CD is also brimming with positive affirmations to boost children’s self-esteem and encourage creativity!
As well as helping children learn to relax their bodies and minds, improve self-esteem and boost creativity, studies have shown that teaching children meditation can reduce dysfunctional behaviour *(2). In addition to the fairytale range, Relax Kids have also created a unique range of CDs designed to target specific emotional problems, including Anger Management and Anxiety and Worry. These CDs help children acknowledge their emotions and teach them positive and constructive ways to respond to those feelings. For instance, children will learn techniques like imagining that they are blowing their anger or upset into a balloon and then watching it float away.
Relax Kids products have already helped over 500,000 homes and schools teach children the positive skills learned through meditation. Relax Kids also offers adult training and children’s classes.
(1) Amon, K; Campbell, A. ( 2008). Biofeedback and children with AD/HD. Journal of Educational & Developmental Psychology. 8 (1), 72-84.
(2) Margolis, H. (1990). Relaxation training: A promising approach for helping exceptional learners. International Journal of Disability, 37(3), 215-234.