Sometimes telling your child to “run around the block” when they are angry works wonders, but wouldn’t it be great if your child learned another way to calm themselves down?
Meditate with your child to help him/her to calm down after a stressful situation. It is a self help tool you can teach them to help them calm themselves. This is more appropriate for older children.
Allow approximately 4 – 7 minutes for this meditation.
The Meditation – Before you start
- Find a place to do this meditation that will feel safe for your child
- Turn off things that are distracting like the TV and radio
- Let your child know that you are going to do a meditation together. If they want to know what a meditation is you can say that it is something you think might help them to feel better
- Before you start speaking take a couple of deep breaths yourself so that your voice sounds calm, not rushed.
- In between each step take a breath. This will help to pace the meditation so that each instruction has a chance to be understood and processed by your child. It also gives you time to read the next instruction before you speak it 😉
What follows is a sample “script” of words you can use to lead your child through the meditation. Please feel free to change some of the words to better match your child’s situation. What your child imagines as they breath out (and in) would depend on what they are feeling. Keep the wording simple, this makes it easier for your child to duplicate the meditation if they choose to try it on their own.
The Meditation – What to say
- Sit with your feet on the floor and your hands open on your lap
- Close your eyes
- Take a nice l-o-n-g BIG breath and let it out
- Take another nice l-o-n-g BIG breath and blow it out
- Take one more HUGE big breath in and as you blow out, imagine that all your anger gets blown out of you when you blow out the air!
- Take a great BIG breath in and imagine you are breathing in a nice feeling of quietness (Repeat this process of breathing out what they don’t want and breathing in what they do want at least three times, more if it seems to be helping)
- Breath in some more of that nice quietness one more time before you open your eyes
- Now open your eyes
- Let your child know that they can do this on their own when they are feeling angry (or whatever the feeling is that is bothering them).
- Ask your child what they thought about the meditation.
- Don’t be too surprised if they come up with comments like “why do I have to close my eyes” or “you talk too fast (or too slow)”. This is a new process for them so comments and questions about the act of meditating are just as likely as comments about how the meditation made them feel.
- Listen to what they have to say and answer questions that come up
- Also don’t be too surprised if they don’t really have anything to say, they may not really know what to think of it yet 🙂
- Set up another time to practice this together again in a couple of days. Practicing when they are not in distress makes it easier for them to remember the steps so they can try it by themselves later.
- If you feel it was beneficial you could set up a regular practice schedule. Although the purpose is for your child to learn a self help technique, it can be calming if you lead them through it so they don’t have to do anything except follow what you say.
Important note – if you think there may be a more serious underlying problem you may want to consider talking with your doctor or a counsellor to learn other coping techniques.