Children have very impressionable minds, in order to shape them, we must expose them to factors that stimulate their minds in the correct way. Modern life is stressful for children. Apart from studies and extracurricular activities, life has also become competitive. The expectations on their tiny shoulders exist due to parents who are so results-focused that it can be hard for children to remain calm and relaxed.
The overstimulation of media, TV, games, and movies, can make it very difficult for children to focus. That’s one reason why so many compassionate parents are teaching kids mantras and, of course, teaching children to meditate. Though there are different types of meditation techniques, most of them starts with Mantras.
The Magnitude of stress the kids face
Research shows that 30% of girls and 20% of boys aged 12 to 17 have suffered from an anxiety disorder. Millions of kids suffer stress while their parents are unaware. It’s not always easy to recognize when kids are stressed out, but short-term behavioural changes — such as mood swings, acting out, changes in sleep patterns, or bedwetting — can be indications. Some kids have physical effects, including stomachaches and headaches,” says KidsHealth.
So many parents have come to realize the age-old methods of meditation and chanting to help their children manage the stress in their life.
The Benefits of Meditation for kids
- Teaches them to focus: with overstimulation through gadgets, children have reduced capacity to turn their attention completely to one thing and be able to stick with their studies. Meditation teaches them to focus.
- To de-stress for academic success – Meditation gives our children the freedom from negative effects of stress and allows the mind to be fresh and inspired. It gives them an expansive and relaxed way of thinking which can help bring creativity and clarity.
- Improves sleep, Heightens awareness, Increases attention and helps regulate blood pressure.
- There is mounting evidence (4) that meditation helps kids with ADHD. A 2004 study showed that kids who practised meditation with their parents in a clinical setting twice a week and then continued to practice at home had improved attention span and focus. In another study, teens and their parents completed a mindfulness program and reported fewer stress levels and fewer ADHD symptoms, such as impulsiveness and emotional reactivity.
- Increases compassion and boosts positive emotions and feelings, such as happiness, confidence, and inner peace. There are many benefits to being aware and connecting with the inner you.
How to get started?
In mantra meditation you meditate on sacred sounds, often meditating on one of the 108 primordial sounds. The vibrations from mantras have the power to rearrange your molecular structure. Each sound has a distinct vibration, and as a result, each mantra has a different effect. All sound affects your molecular structure.
Sanskrit, which happens to be the language that most mantras come from, is a very onomatopoetic language, which means you can hear the sound of the event itself in the word. In Sanskrit, the word ‘man’ indicates the mind, and the word ‘tra’ indicates that which liberates. Thus chanting a mantra can literally deliver the mind from the contemplation of the mundane in order to reach spiritual goals and satisfaction. Here’s how to get started.
1. Set an example
Children are highly likely to follow your habits, both good and bad. Practising meditation and chanting when they are around will pique their curiosity and they are more likely to join in.
2. Practice silence
Practice silence for a few hours each day, start off with the lowest time possible and increase it. You can turn it into a game, “who can be the quietest?” The concept of silence must be established with this.
3. Every child’s meditation threshold is different
Many experts recommend one minute of meditation per year of age, starting at around age eight. Don’t be forceful with anything just let things flow organically.
4. Pranayama (Breathing Exercises)
Breath is connected to prana (life-force energy) and oxygenates every cell in our body. It can also be a very good technique for calming stressed nerves, temper tantrums and other states that are born out of fear. Here are a few pranayama techniques:
- Ujjayi (Victorious Breath): Explore practising the ‘deep ocean sound’ at the back of the throat, while taking deep belly breaths. It truly calms and settles their energy.
- Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breath): This is said to balance the right and left hemispheres of the brain—leading to better cognitive development. Just start off by breathing in from one end while holding the other end shut with a finger and release while doing the same on the other side.
5. Chanting Mantra
OM/AUM (ॐ )
Om is the sound of the universe and divine intelligence. Allow your little ones to play with the tone and volume of their AUMs and OM’s and go at their own pace.
The mantra consists out of 4 parts;
- First sound: aaaaahhhh – the sound of manifestation
- Second sound: oooooooo – the sound of sustenance
- Third sound: mmmmmm – the sound of completion
- Fourth sound: silence – a moment of rest after the first three sounds.
Take a deep breath in and On the exhalation chant “Aaahhhhoooommmm” and silence. Make all 4 part the same length and
Chant three Om’s to make it full circle. The vibrations will give you a deep feeling of relaxation.
Gayatri mantra has 24 syllables, each of which is connected to a different part of the brain. It has been used to enhance intelligence and intuition. It’s also a beautiful song and great exercise for memory.
ॐ भूर्भुवः स्वः (Om Bhur Bhuvaḥ Swaḥ)
तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं (Tat-savitur Vareñyaṃ)
भर्गो देवस्यः धीमहि (Bhargo Devasya Dhīmahi)
धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात् (Dhiyo Yonaḥ Prachodayāt)
– Om Kumara Kushalo Dayayei Namaha
Meaning: Salutations to the Divine Mother who brings blessings to children. The Kumara mantra is a sacred lullaby for children of all ages. It gives us a chance to honour the new generation and to pass on what wisdom we have found, so that they may continue making the Earth a more beautiful, peaceful place.
ॐ ऎं सरस्वत्यै नमः – OM Eim Saraswatayei Namaha
“OM and salutations to Saraswati (the goddess of music, poetry, the arts, education, learning, and divine speech).” The Saraswati Mantra opens us (and our children) towards education, learning, spiritual knowledge, and the artistic realms of music and poetry.
ॐ हुं हनुमते नमः – OM Hum Hanumate Vijayam
Meaning: “Victory to the invincible Hanuman.” Chant it when your children need a boost of energy. The Hanuman Mantra is also a mantra for physical fitness.
OM Niyamaya Namaha
Meaning: Salutations to the governor of the laws of nature and their conduct.” This mantra celebrates and honors the perfect order of nature, and our earthly existence as humans on sacred mother earth.
ॐ गम गणपतये नमः – Om Gam Gam Ganapataye Namah
This mantra will help to invoke the energy of Ganesh so we can work through the obstacles and find possibilities.
This mantra will bring peace to you first, the place where peace starts. The more peaceful you feel and act the more this will influence those around you.
After toning or using mantras, ask them to keep their eyes closed for a while and notice how they feel. This is a powerful meditation tool that can help kids gain awareness of the effects of using mantras.
Children’s meditation usually tends to be guided, especially when the children are young or have never meditated before. Guided meditation involves a teacher leading kids (or adults) in relaxation through deeper breathing and visualization of calming places or events.