Early Zen: ways for kids to chill out

Written by contributing blogger, Christine Martin.

In the ever stimulating world we live in, there is an importance in finding “down-time” at an early age. Just like learning to organize and socialize, implementing methods that initiate calm and introspection are practices children need to learn and incorporate in their daily lives. 

There are a number of techniques for parents to introduce their kids to that demonstrate the value of slowing down. Here are a few to consider:

*Meditation: Learning to quiet the mind and focus on breath takes years of practice. For children it is beneficial to explore the senses. Cloud gazing and listening to a bell meditation are a few examples author of Om Schooled, Sarah Herrington recommends. For more detail, see her post on MindBodyGreen.

*Laughter: One of the best forms of stress relief is laughter. Indulge in a funny movie or make up silly jokes. Kids will certainly appreciate the positivity of a good giggle. 

*Special place: Encourage your child to find or create a special place where they feel safe and relaxed. This can be cushions in the corner of their bedroom, a tree house, or tent. Think about the colors in the space; soft blues and greens promote serenity. 

*Art + music: If your child is drawn toward the arts, this is simple. Giving them opportunities to engage in activities like painting, drawing, singing, and dancing offer an escape. Unleashing creativity allows kids to connect to themselves more. 

*Yoga: Stretching, breathing, and balancing are all essentials that help get to that zen place. Luckily, there are a number of studios, schools, and DVDs that share yoga instruction designed for children. Check out The Kid’s Yoga Resource for ideas. 

*Nature: Scientists have shown that being outside is good for emotions. Even being able to see nature from a window helps. So have your kids get outside more by walking to school or playing in a playground after school. Nature is one of the best ways to get in tune with oneself. 

There are certainly more ideas that help promote relaxation for kids. One key is to reflect the importance of taking time out for oneself. By practicing some of these methods as adults, children will see the difference they make and are more likely to practice as well. 

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