This monthly column is to help parents, grandparents, and teachers introduce children to spiritual topics in the context of prayer. It includes a prayer for adults, one for children and adults to share, and a short affirmation for children to remember and take with them.
Sharing Meditation with a Child
There are many simple yet creative ways to meditate with a child or help them discover the peace and centering it brings. Starting with your own practice, consider a style that you feel guided to share and that aligns with your beliefs and thinking. If you would like to learn more about meditation before going forward, many resources are available, including meditations on unity.org and a playlist on YouTube.
Model your method of meditation by explaining to the child why it works for you. Does it bring up feelings of calmness, a quiet mind, love, or oneness with the Divine? Children learn from our examples. If they hear your reasons for and benefits from meditating, they are more likely to try it.
While comfy cushions, soft lighting, or a quiet environment are nice, the gentleness of your voice also creates an atmosphere of peace and comfort. If a child is new to meditation, start small. A moment or two of quiet breathing is fine. Simply be with the child. Listen and practice openness, love, and calmness. If they are distracted or restless, try again later.
Suggestions for Younger Children
Try meditating at different times. Consider asking for guidance or a pleasant thought to hold throughout the day. At nap time or bedtime, add a quiet song to the meditation. Imagine pleasant dreams.
Take a mindful walk outside. Immerse yourselves in the smells and tactile experience of nature. Linger and practice being in the moment. Silence your phone. Listen to birdsong. Later you might discuss how God shows up in nature.
Paint or draw what meditation felt like today.
Try a movement meditation like the following, indoors or outdoors, or create your own!
I pretend I am a butterfly. I balance on a branch and gently spread my wings. Opening, closing. Softly, easily. I am beautiful. I am strong. I breathe in and then breathe out. I stretch, flutter, and fly again, sprinkling love and peace everywhere I go.
Suggestions for Older Children
Ask, “How would you like to prepare your meditation space?” Empower them to decide what to include and what to hold, like a favorite object, a photo, a crystal. Items can be of any size.
Children can choose words or phrases other than ohm or Sanskrit. They can even create a sound or “new word” of their own as their mantra.
Honor the music choices they make. It may not be something you prefer or that you’d ever think of as meditation music, but that’s okay!
Be available with your time and attention after meditation. Discuss how the experience felt and what they might wish to change.
A meditation opening for an older child: I now give myself some quiet moments. I put aside any worry or concerns and turn my thoughts to the things I appreciate. I gently stretch then relax my body, one area at a time. Music, humming, or repeating a soothing word helps me breathe slowly and deeply. I am one with God. I am strong, smart, and wonderful.
A Prayer for Children and Their Meditations
We find quiet time even in the busiest parts of life and center into the love, strength, and peace of God. We acknowledge the sacred role we play in demonstrating and modeling our individual practices of affirmative prayer and meditation for our children. We behold all children as they truly are—beautiful, unique, and precious lights of Spirit, walking in this world.
A Shared Family Prayer for Meditation
We now pause and acknowledge our constant connection to Spirit. We join in love and with a commitment to honor and trust that divinity in each of us. We are thankful for the quiet times we spend in meditation, and we allow that peace to travel with us throughout each day. We are grateful. We are blessed.