Children and youth are sensitive and insightful beings. When there is chaos or unpredictable events happening in a child's environment they can feel the tension and unrest of those closest to them as well as the energy of the world around them. Think of them as sponges that absorb the outside energy. During times of unrest in the world, children may ask questions and may want to know why you as a parent or caregiver are feeling sad or worried. If they are feeling tension and unrest in the world they may ask questions about those closest to them, their grandparents, teachers, friends...
Children are naturally empathic towards others and may feel overwhelmed by wanting others to feel ok or feel better.
Here is a simple meditation to do with children to send love and caring to themselves, those they love and others in the world. This meditation is called a METTA Meditation or LOVING-KINDNESS Meditation. It's a meditation practice that teaches children about the importance of kindness and care towards themselves and others and that we are all interconnected as universal beings.
Have child sit in whatever position feels comfortable for them.
Have them share about people they love (they can share through words, pictures or drawings).
Invite them to notice any sensations they feel in their bodies when they think of the people they love.
Talk about people they want to send loving kindness to.
Have them bring their palms together at their heart center. Talk about how we can hold love in our heart and can send love to ourself and others.
Say each phrase and have the child repeat.
As you practice they may be able to recite the meditation on their own.
Loving Kindness Meditation
"May I be filled with Love and Kindness
May I be Peaceful and at Ease
May I be Loved and Cared for
May I be Well."
"May YOU be filled with Love and Kindness
May YOU be Peaceful and at Ease
May YOU be Loved and Cared for
May YOU be Well."
"May WE be filled with Love and Kindness
May WE be Peaceful and at Ease
May WE be Loved and Cared for
May WE be Well."
Option to light a candle or use a battery powered candle for the meditation
Practice this meditation as often as the child would like. Practicing before bedtime is a wonderful way to create more peace, calm and connection for sleep and rest.
Shawnee Thornton Hardy is a C-IAYT, Certified Yoga Therapist, M.Ed. P-SEP Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, the founder of Asanas for Autism and Special Needs and the Founder/Director of Yoga Therapy for Youth. She is the Author of Asanas for Autism and Special Needs - Yoga to Help children with Their Emotions, Self-Regulation and Body Awareness and the creator of the C.A.L.M.M Yoga Toolkit. She leads training throughout the US and internationally in Yoga for The Diverse Child, C.A.L.M.M Classroom (Yoga in Schools) and a 100-hour Yoga Therapy for Youth with Complex Needs training. Shawnee is in the process of writing her 2nd published book Yoga Therapy for Children and Teens with Complex Needs - A Somatosensory Approach to Mental, Emotional and Physical Wellbeing due Summer of 2023!