If you’ve established a routine of daily meditation, you may be worried that you won’t be able to continue your practice of mindfulness with the birth of your child. For parents who have never enjoyed the benefits of meditation before, beginning with a toddler can seem
unimaginable. Ironically, there may be no better time in your life to take a few minutes to
ground yourself and get in touch with how you’re feeling during this time of monumental
Mediating with a baby is not only possible but deeply beneficial for both of you. For the first
two years, babies literally channel the moods and rhythms of their primary caregiver, and there is much you can offer your child by being at peace within yourself. Meditation is not about retreating from the world – it's about truly observing all that surrounds you, and if you’re a new parent, your baby is an integral part of who you are in the moment.
"Meditation is a gift to offer your child and one that they can carry with them for life."
Most babies are more relaxed and content when they’re first awake, and morning seems to be the best time to practice meditating when they’re very young. Sit yourself in a comfortable position on the floor, and place the baby in your lap with their back against your belly.
Alternatively, you can hold the baby to your chest in a carrier. As you relax and begin your
pranayama, you’ll notice your baby calming as well. Up to the age of about 4 months, most
babies are quite content to feel your presence as you go through your meditation routine.
Toddlers are active, distracting and noisy. Accept that your mediation may no longer be solitary or unbroken, and go with it. Meditate in a room that is entirely child-proof so that you’re not worried about what your toddler might be getting into. If you have been mediating with your baby since birth, they will come to understand that this is a time when you are calm and quiet and not available for constant interaction. Ensure your baby is rested, fed and has a clean diaper.
Since their basic needs are taken care of, you can enter your meditative space knowing
that whatever your baby is doing, they’re not uncomfortable or in danger.
Integrate your baby into your thoughts and feelings. Examine their presence without judgment and sit in awareness that they are a part of you. We all have endless days to think about parenting – this is your time to focus on being a parent. Meditation nurtures your child’s longing for security and strengthens your own confidence and joy at having this new presence in your
Adding a few toys, snacks and a bottle for older babies will extend your mediation. There are times when you’ll need to break off, and you may not enter deeply into a meditative state, but you will still experience the benefits of having even a few minutes of unstructured awareness.
As children get older, many will want to participate in meditation themselves. Teaching children to control their breathing reduces frustration, anger, and stress. In later years, teenagers who meditate are found to have much lower levels of depression and deal with hormonal changes more effectively than their peers.
Meditation is a gift to offer your child and one that they can carry with them for life. A mindful existence is one that cherishes and grows from all experience, present in the moment and open to all that is yet to come.
Practicing mindfulness can begin at birth.
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