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#51 - Baby Buddhas

by Lisa Desmond

This is a book about teaching children to meditate, and I think the author has some great ideas. I got it for two reasons: first, for meditations to teach to my seven-year-old son; and second, for techniques I might be able to use with his classroom, as part of the yoga classes I was teaching last semester. I have seen the calming effect that meditation can have on the children when they’re really able to tap into that place of calm in themselves, and I’m interested in doing more of that with all the children in my life, especially my son.

The author starts with a basic format (breathing in love, and breathing out madness, sadness and badness) which she then adapts for several different meditations – there are meditations for sending love to others, for receiving blessings for oneself, for offering gratitude, even for world peace. She gives instructions for both sitting and walking meditations. I like her basic ideas, but I haven’t yet sat down and tried them with my son. I think he’ll enjoy the format and simplicity of the meditations. I’m not sure I love all of the wording she uses, but it will be easy enough to adapt it so I say things that resonate more with me (and, in the case of offering this to a class at school, will be more appropriate for a group where I don’t want to be teaching anything that could be interpreted as “religious.” I don’t think that her suggestions are overtly religious, but there are a few words here and there that I think I’d prefer to change). Overall, a good book, one I think will prove useful. 8/10


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 28th, 2006 07:35 pm (UTC)
That sounds like it will be very good for Connor, all kids really need to learn ways to manage their anger and frustrations. :) Let us know how that goes!
Jun. 29th, 2006 03:25 am (UTC)
Hi Wendy,

I love what you're doing yoga/meditation and labyrinth-wise with Connor and his class. Do you feel you could have started this sort of thing with C at a younger age than you did? I'm asking out of curiosity as to an approx minimum age I could start looking into these things with Arran - well, he already comes to yoga with me sometimes and he does his own thing which sometimes looks a bit like yoga (very cute). I visited Adelaide's Buddha House last week and they said that kindy age was when they were willing to teach some of the practice to kids.
Jun. 29th, 2006 06:01 am (UTC)
Yes - I could have definitely started both the meditation and yoga earlier - I've seen three-year-olds doing yoga with a children's class, and I'm not surprised to hear that Arran is already doing his own yoga stuff - there are some poses that little kids just do naturally. So, I think you could probably start with him, maybe even if it's just encouraging him to do more of the stuff he's already doing.

As for meditation, while that seems a bit trickier, I think you could start with him on that, too. The book that I just read is aimed at preschool-aged kids, and she's got photos of kids who are two years old (maybe even younger), so the author is definitely working with kids younger than Connor. Here's a sample of one of her meditations, something that you might be able to try with Arran:

She recommends that you sit on some sort of cushion or meditation pillow, even a folded up towel, so the child has a space of his own.

We are going to sit with our legs crossed, our backs straight, and our heads held high. Our hands are in the begging bowl position (palms up, resting in the lap, with the right hand on top of the left, thumbs touching).

*Strike the singing bowl, or ring a bell or a chime*

May this circle be surrounded in light and love.

*State your intention, such as:* We are letting go of sad, mad and bad feelings and replacing them with love, joy and peace.

I'm going to strike the bowl and we will breathe three times. The first breath we breathe in will be love.

*strike the bowl*

Breathe in love. *long exaggerated breath through the nose*

Breathe out sadness *long exaggerated breath*

*strike the bowl*

Breathe in joy *long breath*

Breathe out madness *long breath*

*strike the bowl*

Breathe in peace *long breath*

Breathe out badness *long breath*

All the sadness, madness and badness changes to bright white sparkles of love.

*mantra* We are full of love, joy and peace today.

That's just one example, but they're all somewhat similar to this in format. I'm not really fond of using the word "badness," and will probably try to find another word I like better. But that should give you an idea. Does that sound like something you could do with Arran?
Jun. 29th, 2006 06:11 am (UTC)
Thanks for that. It sounds really interesting although I'm with you on the use of the word badness. I can definitely encourage him with the yoga positions. That should be fun for both of us.

He is rather energetic and it's usually impossible to get him to sit still long enough to read a book so I suspect he won't appreciate the meditation yet. Maybe if I did something with atmosphere it might help.

Jul. 1st, 2006 02:40 am (UTC)
Do try the meditation. Also, there's a book I'd recommend for helping him sit still. It worked with the kids in C's class, anyway - and there are some MAJOR wiggleworms in that class. I have honestly never seen them as calm as they were when I read "Each Breath a Smile" by Sister Susan. She's a Buddhist nun, but the book isn't relgious at all - it's a very simple book on mindful breathing.

I think if you just start small with him, he'll learn to relax gradually. Even if he's only still for 20 seconds at first, with practice, he'll be able to sit for longer and longer periods of time. Which reminds me, I do want to do some more meditating with Connor. :)

Jun. 29th, 2006 06:02 am (UTC)
Oh, and I meant to say that I wish I'd started Connor on some of this sooner. I think these are great skills for kids to have at any age! Another book that I thought was really cute is the "Yoga for Elephants" book (featuring Babar the Elephant), which might give you some yoga ideas. Let me know if you can't find it in Australia, and I'll see if I can get a copy for you.

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
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