On March 25, 2020

Family meditation can provide routine and calm

By Midge Scanlan

With the nonstop thread of news concerning the coronavirus, disruptions to our daily routines and just looking at the empty shelves at the grocery store, it’s easy to feel anxious these days. Our children are not immune to this anxiety. They too hear the news, are kept from their routines of school and its extra curricular activities — be it plays, chorus, band or the long awaited prom. They now can’t play or interact with their friends as they did just days ago and are witness to the frustrations their parents feel due to these current events.

Our routines bring a sense of continuity, balance and security to our daily lives. Now that life has been disrupted we are being forced into finding a new norm not only for ourselves but our children as well.

How can we nurture ourselves and loved ones while staying grounded when there is so much uncertainty?

It’s easier than you’d think — you’re already doing it! Just breathe. Now bring your attention to your breath. Breathe in through your nose at the count of four and exhale out of your mouth at the count of two. Repeat.

The Internet is full of meditation choices for both you and your children. Many are as simple as breathing while others can be slightly more nuanced. Check them out and find one that you think might fit your family and incorporate it into your “new” daily routine.

Practicing at approximately the same time each day will enhance the experience and quickly bring it into one of habit. Keep in mind it is a “practice” not a “perfect!” Don’t get overwhelmed, keep it light and take it at your child’s pace. There’s a thought that one minute of meditation for every year of your child’s age is a good gauge. For multiple children take an average of ages and try that. Though15 minutes is the maximum for most children,the important thing to remember is that this is your family’s routine so you can adapt and tweak as you see fit. Allowing your children the time and space to talk about their experiences with the meditation is also beneficial. There really isn’t any right or wrong experience, but checking in can help keep it from becoming a chore.

Simple meditations can bring about big results. They can be brought in as a morning awareness, a mealtime prayer of gratitude or an evening prayer for loved ones. You can even do all three! They need not be affiliated with any religion or practiced with any dogma. Meditation can be utilized as a way to check in with our breath, quiet our minds, connect with our hearts. It can be done before or after an activity or any time you see a need within your child to redirect their anxiety, fears or frustrations.

It appears that we may be just at the beginning of a long sequester. Some families will find the isolation more challenging than others, yet we all can benefit by taking a few moments out of each day to reconnect with ourselves and each other. A family meditation can help towards that goal of balance, feelings of wellbeing and connectivity.

Midge Scanlan is a stained glass artist living in Rochester. She and her husband have been practicing Heartfulness Meditation for the past 28 years.

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