When I was in second grade, my desk was in the corner of the room facing the “penguin wall.” We called it my “office.” I was a little ball of energy and in school I didn’t know what to do with myself as I tried to sit still and focus when all I wanted to do was play with all my friends around. I thrived in activities that allowed me to express myself but was a constant distraction to everyone around me when it came time to focus on things. I would get frustrated when I didn’t know how to do certain things like math or word problems because I wasn’t able to maintain focus long enough to get to the answer. My teachers recommended that I be put on medication to help control my behavior, but my mom wasn’t having it. These problems continued all the time I was in school and I eventually had to learn to work around them. It took me learning to quiet my mind and slow my thoughts down so that I could focus and stop getting frustrated and overwhelmed.

Many kids suffer from these kinds of “problems” because they don’t learn how to cope with them while they’re young and have to figure it out the hard way like I did. Our children are growing up in a world completely unlike the one that raised our generations, and the effects of that world are becoming more and more apparent in the sometimes unmanageable behavior that is starting to take over among young children. Meditation is a technique used by many for all kinds of reasons and can be very effective for kids as young as two or three.

Start with just a few minutes a day, add it to the morning or nightly rituals, (or both!) do a guided meditation with them. Start by creating a tranquil, quiet place away from distractions like the tv, games or other family members. sit together on the ground and begin by humming together to establish your inner connection and your kids connection to the tone of your voice. Slowly turn the humming rhythms into breathing exercises. Fill your chest with air all the way up to the chin and then slowly empty the breath all the way through the tummy. Help them to focus inward – the best way is to get them to learn to be more conscious of the feeling of their own bodies. Talk calmly and quietly about a happy, serene scene that relaxes them. Help them visualize a scene that represents peace and calm in their minds. Ask them to describe it to you to help develop the visual in their heads further. Use musical ambiance if the sounds seem to help keep their attention better. Then, after the guided meditation, let them sit in complete silence, with their own mental images and feelings.

Meditation, like anything, takes time and practice. Consistent attempts at meditation with your kids can make a world of difference for them at school, in sports, social situations, and can help you get them to bed quicker and easier. Having something like this in your daily routine will help each person in your family reconnect with each other as well as the energy inside of them. It is important to have exercises like this to balance out the intense instant gratification of technology and convenience that our society offers. We can all benefit from learning to take a moment to collect ourselves, focus on our breath and decide on an intention so that we can better accomplish short-term, and long-term goals.