Meditation for Families
Give yourself a moment to breathe. Anchoring our awareness in our breath is one way to practice mindfulness, which is a way to focus on being present and content with our emotions and experiences. Mindfulness and meditation practices can help people of all ages with a variety of challenges including depression, anxiety, sleep, school issues, and symptoms of stress.
I often incorporate meditation practice into my therapy sessions with children. Although some youths find it difficult at first to slow down and focus on the breath, most of us can learn and become comfortable with the process over time. I find that meditation is a nice way to bring awareness to the present moment at the beginning or end of a therapy session, and I commonly recommend meditation practice around bedtime or when noticing signs of stress in the body.
In addition to helping children find calm through meditation, many caregivers also find that meditation practice helps them to be less reactive, more understanding, and more clear-headed in their interactions with their families. This can be a 15-minute meditation session, or simply a slow and focused breath when you think of it. Modeling meditation practice for your children shows them that emotional health is important in your family. For this reason, I also often recommend family meditation practice, which can be a fun bonding activity with emotional and behavioral benefits. Here are some fun meditation exercises for families. And here is some more information about meditation for children.
Most importantly, I do not recommend waiting until stressful events occur to learn meditation. Instead, practice when things are going smoothly (our brains learn best this way) so that your family is prepared to find calm when we need it most.