Many Christian parents with young families wonder how soon they can teach their children about mindfulness and Christian meditation. Research has shown many benefits of meditation for mental health and general well-being.
Teaching toddlers and young children how to meditate using simple messages from Scripture can increase their understanding of their personal relationship with Jesus. Meditation reduces stress and can increase everyone’s sense of well-being and harmony.
Educators have reported that Christian meditation has many benefits for parents with young families — not just in managing behavior but in teaching kids about kindness and the Christian message in a fun way.
This article sets out some simple strategies to teach your kids about mindfulness and Christian meditation.
Meditation is where a person uses a series of calming techniques, including mindfulness, to focus the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity. This teaches the brain to feel emotionally calm and grounded.
Christian meditation is where you shift that focus to reflect upon passages of Scripture. The best way to teach young children about this is to create a narrative or tell a story about meditation while playing some peaceful meditation music. Even as young as two years old, kids can learn to meditate using Bible stories as a theme.
When working with toddlers or very small children, you can start by demonstrating mindfulness around movement and breathing. Toddlers may resist sitting still for extended periods, so start small with a peaceful Bible passage.
Get them to recite: Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.” These simple words will teach your child to do a full-body scan before you move onto some easy breathing exercises.
Next, you can create a space of calm. Using meditation music, get your children to take deep breaths while doing a full-body scan from their fingers to the tips of their toes. You can teach kids of all age groups to meditate like this confidently.
Meditation teaches kids how to appreciate the present moment and be comfortable in their own skin. Starting early means that your children learn a vital life skill, namely managing their emotions and feelings.
Improving emotional self-regulation can also raise self-esteem and grow confidence.
Many parents may also find it useful to design a bedtime meditation as part of their regular nighttime storytelling with young children.
A nightly bedtime meditation, which uses controlled breathing exercises, calming music, and a simple Bible story, can help settle and calm kids and prepare them for sleep.
Scientific studies have shown that a regular meditation routine can help children with ADHD to learn mindfulness activities, which can reduce anxiety and calm racing thoughts.
Learning mindfulness meditation with a Christian theme can teach children to grow in Christ. Regular meditation practice reduces stress and increases a child’s sense of well-being and harmony.
Kids who meditate as part of a family activity have better self-awareness and self-acceptance, along with better overall mental health. It has also been proven to boost academic performance.
You can design a guided meditation that includes a Christian message. This exercise can teach kids about kindness and being more thoughtful toward others. Christian meditation can also help teach kids how to cooperate better and be part of a Christian community.
Find Bible stories that talk about developing the fruits of the spirit. These are Christian values that include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, fidelity, gentleness, and self-control. You can design a themed meditation around each of these values and consider this part of your kids’ mindfulness practice. St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians talks about these values.
Regular family Christian meditation sessions teach kids how to build community with others, reduce stress, and improve their sense of general well-being and harmony. Once you get into the swing of a family meditation activity, you’ll find your kids looking forward to their meditation time. It also gives kids a well-needed break from technology like computer screens and video games.
Children who learn to meditate regularly develop more consistent behavior. This comes from learning to regulate emotions better. Consider your meditation training part of mindful parenting. It brings your family closer together as a family unit.
Getting started, you need to decide on a regular time for meditation practice. This is particularly important for parents who are homeschooling and trying to create consistent routines for kids.
Whatever time you decide, try and stick to it.
Next, you need to create a beautiful, serene, and peaceful meditation space in your home. Choose a place that isn't too cluttered and has lots of fresh air.
Find the right music to guide your meditation session. There are lots of free meditation apps and YouTube videos to help you get started. If you’re working with really small children, don’t be alarmed if they won’t sit still. Acknowledge that toddlers and younger children will want to move around, so teach them some simple breathing exercises and get them to focus on different parts of their bodies as they relax into the meditation.
Allow each child and adult in your family to learn to meditate in their own ways. Don’t impose strict rules. Make it a pleasant family-bonding activity.
Children need to be eased into a meditation routine, so start small with five-minute sessions and build up to 10 minutes and longer as your routine becomes more established.
Tell stories about famous people in the Bible, such as the Prodigal son or Samson and Delilah. Your children will learn that meditation with Mom and Dad can help make them grow strong in the fruits of the spirit — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Teaching kids Christian meditation in a nurturing family setting is a valuable way to bring the whole family closer to the Holy Spirit. The simplest way to start is by using simple guided meditations and incorporating music to inspire and lift in a quiet, familiar setting at the same time every day.
Learning these skills is particularly important in our busy modern societies, which are frequently overwhelmed with lots of technology and unwelcome distractions. Once you get your kids in the habit of meditation, it can be something that they look forward to.
Start with Psalm 19:14: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.”