It’s Mental Health Awareness week! In the spirit of things, we’re sharing a simple calming activity you can do at home with your child.
Activity: Creating a family meditation routine.
Why: The Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown of the UK has affected us all. As adults, we may be suffering from our own anxieties related to the pandemic. At a time of great uncertainty, children will be feeling equally anxious. Many children may not have the understanding, context or tools to express their feelings and fears about the situation. Therefore, it’s important that we, as adults, are equipped to listen, understand, empathise and reassure children if we spot any signs of anxiety or distress. Meditation can teach children a self-soothing tool during times of distress. All children can benefit from this, whether they have sensory processing challenges or not. Even you can benefit from this!
How to create a family meditation routine:
- Doing it together as a family
Role-modelling is a great way to teach kids new routines. Besides, anyone can benefit from meditation so why not do it as a family? It would provide an excellent opportunity to connect with them.
- Set aside a specific time to meditate everyday
When you choose to meditate is up to you as a family. Just whatever time you choose, whether it be a morning ritual or something to wind you down in the evening, make sure you stick to it! You don’t need to exhaust yourself with attempts to recreate a classroom routine at home, but having some predictability in the day or week will help to establish a structure that is so needed when stuck indoors.
- Start small
It may be difficult for some children to sit still for long periods of time. Some adults may also struggle with this too. If so, make it manageable and start small. As everyone becomes comfortable with meditating, you can increase the length of time you spend on it.
- Use child-friendly meditation
There are tons of child-friendly guided meditation apps and Youtube videos that use visuals that children will find engaging. They are usually shorter in length as well. The Rainbow Waterfall from the Peace Out series is a nice one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hh58j2Yw6dg&feature=youtu.be
- Set the appropriate mood/tone for your meditation
If you’ve decided to mediate as a family before bed, then create an atmosphere that is meant for sleep-time e.g. no tv, dim the lights etc. If you’ve decided to meditate during the day, like say in the morning, then perhaps select a meditation guide that is meant to be energising and inspiring.
- Remove all distractions
The activity is to be mindful. Remove or switch off all possible distractions. This includes tv and pets!
- Give each other enough space and make yourselves comfortable
You can lie down to meditate if that feels comfortable (and some guided meditations will encourage this) so ensure there is ample space.
- Last but not least…. Be open-minded!
It is common for people to dismiss the idea of meditative activities and families might feel a bit silly doing it at first. However, the benefits of meditation to mental health and wellbeing are vast so do persevere with it and give it a fair chance. You won’t know until you try!