...because home doesn't happen overnight.

meditation

You already know that meditation is a healthy practice, right? It’s been proven to cultivate self-awareness, improve focus, and benefit the cardiovascular & immune systems. More recently, it’s also been found helpful in eliminating symptoms of anxiety and depression. Steve and I started meditating six years ago with the help of this book. It’s amazing what just 8 minutes a day can do for your mind and body!

That first year of meditating – even for only a few minutes each day – was one of the most genuinely happy years of my life. Which is strange because there were a lot of difficult things going on at that time. Everett was a newborn. I was working as a pharmacist in a high crime area. (Our pharmacy was robbed twice in the 16 months I worked there.) And, consequently, I was applying and interviewing for jobs elsewhere. My mom was battling schizophrenia. She attempted suicide, was in and out of the hospital and, eventually, filed for divorce from my dad. By all accounts, I should have started eating or drinking my sorrows away or had a nervous breakdown. I’m not saying it was easy but I felt like I handled everything with a clear mind even when I was grieving.

Here’s the thing with meditating: it keeps me from getting caught up in the things I can’t change. I’m less reactive. I’m more optimistic. Regular meditation gives me the focus I need to be proactive about the things I can do and / or change. And, in general, I feel more in tune with my body. Maybe that sounds a bit voodoo to those who’ve never meditated before. But it’s all true.

So I don’t know why I let it get away from me. We moved, had another baby, renovated a house and stopped meditating up until a few months ago. I’m so glad we’re back at it.

meditating with kids

At first, Steve and I would meditate together after we put the kids to bed. Then Steve said he thought the kids should try it, too. We started meditating as a family about a month ago and guess what?! The kids LOVE it. After the first 10-minute session, Layne and Everett were begging to do it again. We use the Headspace app. I don’t think it’s marketed toward kids but it’s actually very kid-friendly. There are animated shorts which the boys always look forward watching.

After one month, we’re up to 12-minute sessions! We usually meditate in the boys’ bedroom as a part of their bedtime routine. Layne and Everett (ages 9½ and 6½ respectively) are really into it. They follow the app’s guidance and I love watching them “come to” at the end and stretch with woozy smiles. Mabrey? Well, she’s only 2½ and doesn’t follow along. HOWEVER, she is silent while we meditate. (!) She stays in the room with all of us and usually reads a book or putzes around. It’s not something we tell her to do. I think she just sees us being quiet and knows to do the same. Even if she isn’t meditating per se, I think it’s great for her to witness us doing it. Hey, I’ll take 12 minutes of silent bliss any day!

Do you meditate? Would you try it? Have you ever thought of meditating with your kids?

P.S. – Get some Headspace in book form, too.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

36 Comments

15.January.2015

I just tried this last week with my 5 yr old, 3 yr old & 22 month old. It lasted about 3 mins but it was nice to see how they responded. My main focus was to work on breathing with them and it was nice to see they loved my examples of inhaling (smelling flowers) and exhaling (let’s blow out birthday candles). I am committed to trying this each Friday morning in front of the fireplace. We will see how it goes :-)! But, thank you for the headspace app info – will be checking that out!

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replied on January 15th, 2015

I like the way you describe the inhaling and exhaling!

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15.January.2015

I practice a breathing meditation in the morning and a body scan meditation when I get in bed at night. It completely centers me–voodoo or not :) My 6yo has done “mindful breathing” (what we call it) with me a few times, and I can see the calm just wash over his face when we’re finished. It’s neat to hear about your kids’ experience with it because that’s something we’re starting to explore in our house too. I wondered how other families approached it. So thank you for this!

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15.January.2015

We read and prayed as a family together every night BUT never meditated. I meditate or ponder what I read BUT have never really meditated and focused on breathing or just let my mind be clear. I am 53 years old… I should probably try this… Actually, I am not even really sure how to mediate… if I am “quiet” I am usually running through a mental list of things I need to do BUT this looks like a great way to get ready for bed. (Hmmm, maybe, I should read the book)

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15.January.2015

How timely — Jon and I were just talking about finding a quiet spot in our house to make our “meditation zone” because we both need it!! I love the idea of the app to help you get started and to also involve kids. Miriam is still pretty young (18 months) but I love the examples above to help her get started.
Also, I like that you shared how meditation helped you in a very difficult time in your life. In this age of constant stimulation, I think we need a break from it more than ever!!

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15.January.2015

My husband and I both meditated quite a bit before we met right through to when our son was born, and have really neglected it since. It honestly hadn’t occurred to me to meditate with my son, but he struggles with his temper, so I think it could really do him (and me!) some good. Great idea, thanks for sharing!

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15.January.2015

I always get the sense of calmness when I see pictures of your home so the fact that you meditate is not surprising It is something I’d like to try with my kids too, thank you for sharing. I’ve got to stop with the excuses and just do it!

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replied on January 15th, 2015

Believe me, we have our LOUD and wild moments too! But for those 12 minutes, all is calm.

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15.January.2015

I’m downloading the app right now, can’t wait to try it! With a full time career and a husband and 4 kids 9 and younger, I could use some mindful moments in my life. My husband got me a yoga membership for Christmas that I have yet to start using… this goes hand in hand. Thank you for sharing.

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replied on January 15th, 2015

Oh Rachel, I know it’s hard to set aside even 10 minutes. Do it! You won’t regret it!

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15.January.2015

Thanks for sharing about your life. Question about the HeadSpace app – did you buy a subscription, or just use the free content. Just trying to figure out the best way to start…

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replied on January 15th, 2015

We started with just the free content! Once you complete that, you can decide to jump for a subscription or not. We did end up subscribing after we discovered how much the kids enjoy it.

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15.January.2015

If this is a sponsored post, please disclose that to your readers, as per the FTC rules for bloggers and brands.

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replied on January 16th, 2015

This is not a sponsored post just sharing something I’m passionate about. I always disclose sponsored posts as such. The links to the books on Amazon are affiliate links meaning I make a small commission on any purchases made. This is disclosed on the ‘about’ page. Thanks for reading!

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15.January.2015

Thank you so much for this post! I am going to try this meditation myself first, then with my kiddos. And thank you for sharing some of your personal life with us. I love your blog for so many reasons!

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15.January.2015

I just downloaded the book on my kindle.. it was only $2.99!! I can’t wait to read it and try this out. Thanks for sharing :)

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15.January.2015

Very cool Dana.

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Holy crap that was A LOT to go through in one year!! We read scriptures and pray with our kids at bedtime and then most nights I give my boys (around the same ages as yours) massages as we talk about their day but I love the idea of meditation. The year or so before I got married I did meditation regularly and loved it but that was 11+ years ago. Thanks for reminder– I will check out that app!

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15.January.2015

Anyone looking for ideas for getting kids started with meditation, check out
Home It’s a free app built especially for kids, and the awesome folks in charge are making headway in getting mindfulness meditation on the Australian school curriculum. I was a shocked as anyone to hear the kids tell me they enjoyed it!

I’m also a fan of “8 Minute Meditation” – it’s clear, concise, and an easy read. It has no fluffy new age weirdness I had expected from a book about meditation. It lead me to take a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course at a local hospital, and to anyone who has the chance to take one of these, I say do it! I think it may be the most important life skill I have ever learned.

So happy to hear it’s helped you too Dana – thanks for blogging about it! (You’ll also make me seem less like a weirdo when I keep telling everyone how awesome meditation is.:))

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replied on January 15th, 2015

Eeek! My link didn’t work. The kids meditation app is:

http://www.smilingmind.com.au/

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replied on January 16th, 2015

Thanks for sharing this!

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16.January.2015

Firstly, the sky pic is just nice! Reminds me of Lovers Key in Ft. Myers (recently came back to Sweden – boohoo). Secondly, thank you for this post. I’ve never heard of Headspace and am open to meditating. I’ll try anything to start the new year on a positive note as living in Sweden can be stressful (there’s no place like home – aka FLA). Downloaded the app and am looking forward to the first session.

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16.January.2015

Thanks for the app recommendation – I tried it last night and really liked it. Thanks for sharing part of your family’s personal routine :)

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16.January.2015

This is extremely inspiring. I’ve been thinking about starting a regular meditation practice for, oh, about six years. I’ve never been able to commit to it, but I do think it’s worth investing in one’s self and one’s mental strength. Thank you for this.

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Great post. Looking forward to trying out Headspace and the one recommended by your reader LL. I do best with guided meditations rather than figuring it out on my own…like having a personal trainer for my mind :) Thank you for sharing.

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16.January.2015

Thank you so much for this post! You posted this the same day I had just had a talk with my 5 year-old son’s pre-K teacher about his need for calming methods. My boy is go go go all the time and has a very difficult time winding down and chilling out. This may be the perfect solution. I love your blog and really appreciate posts like these.

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16.January.2015

The timing is so funny, because just last night my husband (gently) urged me to join him in an intro meditation session. I am really interested and would love to reap the benefits – mainly reducing stress, and accepting things as they are. I can’t wait to look into the book you recommended!

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16.January.2015

when I tried to download the android app it said I could not because I was in a geographically restricted area….South Carolina???

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replied on January 18th, 2015

Hmmmm…that stinks!

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16.January.2015

I started meditating while taking my yoga teacher training. We had to start off each day with 30 mins which was really tough for me! I kept a regular practice after that for 5-10 mins a day but have lost it over the past couple months. You have inspired me to get back on track! Also, I love your honesty and candidness, it really comes through in your blogging. Namaste!

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17.January.2015

Dana, I am going to try the book. Setting aside time seems impossible most days, but I need it and eight minutes sounds doable.

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18.January.2015

I love this post. I am a huge fan of meditation, and I do it every day religiously but it took me years to get to such a regular practice. It really does make all the difference in the world though, doesn’t it? I think it’s so awesome that your kids do it too! I will have to check out this app- it seems like a great place to point people to when they are looking to start a practice in a way that’s easy and not overwhelming.

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23.January.2015

I’ve been dipping my toe into the meditation waters so suggested it to my husband and he was game. We just tried it last night and all really enjoyed it. Thanks for the tip!

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[…] Meditation with Kids | House*Tweaking […]

05.February.2015

[…] 7:45 – 8:05 p.m. We meditate. […]

13.February.2015

I am downloading this now. My 6 1/2 year old really needs this at night. I hope it helps. Thanks for the tip!

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