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Meditation holds the potential to help treat children suffering from traumas, difficult diagnoses or other stressors – a behavioral neuroscientist explains.
(this article is from the news site The Conversation and also contains great links to different kinds of RESEARCH)
Ten Ways to Teach Mindfulness to Kids
Teach Kids About Mindfulness With These Everyday Objects
YOGA for KIDS
(click image for a link to goodreads)
Body Scan for Children
(by Summer Meyer)
The story I told both my daughter and my son was called “Grandma’s Jewels” - we pretended to have found a chest of jewels in their grandmother’s closet and would try on those treasures. It was always something we did to help them fall asleep, but this body scan can be done anytime your child is ready for some calming down time. It will also enable your child to pay attention to their body and to become familiar with their body, how it feels, how emotions might be stored in different body parts. The “story” itself can be adjusted to appeal to whatever your child is interested in - you can cover many different storylines, from dressing up to go to a ball as a princess to getting ready to join a pirate party. Make it personal to your child and weave your own details around the outline of this story. You can use as many or as few words as you are comfortable with or as your child likes to hear.
Ask them to lie down on their back and close their eyes. Tell them you will be telling them a story that will help them relax / help them go to sleep / make them familiar with paying attention to their body as you will gently be touching/stroking parts of their body. Bodies love this, and every part of their body will soften as it is touched. (You could also use the imagery of using a magic wand if that appeals to them.) It is important to clearly state your intention for this meditation - be it falling asleep, relaxation, becoming familiar with how their body feels, etc. Energy follows thought!
Below is described the progression from feet to head and back down again. If you follow the Grandma’s Jewels storyline, pretend to pull the items out of the chest and proceed to “put them” on that body part. You will probably only need to do this for the first couple of times you do this meditation and only for the first few items, because your child might “peek” and still be alert. After a while they will know how it goes and close their eyes.
Gently and lightly touch or stroke the body part that is “receiving” the jewelry or piece of clothing … as you are talking about it.
FEET TO HEAD
Feet: Toe rings/pretty shoes/pirate shoes - gently “put them” on their feet, one foot at a time, touching each toe, the bottom, the sides, and the top of the foot
Legs: Pants, a skirt, stockings - gently stroking the lower part of the legs, front/sides/back, moving up to the upper part, front/sides/back
Waist: A belt full of jewels, or a pirate belt
Torso and Arms: A beautiful blouse/vest/coat, with long arms - touch belly, going up chest, to shoulders, down the arms, one by one
Hands: Gloves (kids love this one!!) - pay attention to each individual finger, palms of hand, top of hand, wrists …rings as well if desired
Neck and Shoulders: Necklace or Scarf
Face - name lots of details here (some examples)
Sun screen / fun make-up
Rouge on cheeks
Hair: Needs to be styled / a fancy hat - comb with your hands through their hair, gently massaging the scalp
HEAD TO TOES
Going back down again will take up much less time. Do this even if your child has already fallen asleep. It is important to come full circle - your child’s body will “know” it happened.
With light fingertips retrace your previous journey, focusing on softly speaking the body parts, ignoring as much as possible the items that were placed there - so the attention is on the body, not the things placed on it. From shoulders to hips you can make some broad strokes on the left and on the right, one at a time or at the same time. Then go down both legs, one at a time. End at the feet - hold one foot in each hand and gently press with your thumb the middle of the sole.